Burial in Jerusalem: Where time-honored traditions fuse with innovative tech

  (photo credit: The Jerusalem Burial Society)
(photo credit: The Jerusalem Burial Society)

While not everyone has had the chance to make their home in Israel, a significant number of Diaspora Jews harbor a deep-seated desire to be buried in the Holy Land, specifically, Jerusalem. And while at one time, burial in Israel was a luxury reserved only for the very affluent, today the Jerusalem Burial Society offers affordable options on Har Hamenuchot that are within reach of most budgets.

Established over 80 years ago by esteemed rabbis, the Jerusalem Burial Society manages most burials in this iconic city. Their team, available 24/6, provides crucial support to mourners during their most challenging moments. Significantly, it has earned a reputation among Jewish communities the world over for respecting the unique preferences of families while remaining true to Jewish traditions.

The Jerusalem Burial Society presents a wide array of choices and price scales, from graves under the open sky to technologically advanced underground burial chambers.

The latter, an advanced project named Hallowed Halls of Eternal Life (Minharot Olam), was initiated as an answer to the growing problem of limited space at the Har Hamenuchot cemetery. With no room for expansion, this cemetery is fast approaching its limit. The Hallowed Halls complex allows for a respectful burial in line with the most stringent religious standards, approved by Israel's Chief Rabbis.

Hailed as a "masterpiece of modern engineering," the Hallowed Halls are fully accessible via elevators and golf carts. Security features like closed-circuit cameras, round-the-clock surveillance, and an intercom system provide visitors with peace of mind. WiFi and cell phone coverage are accessible throughout the site, and innovative thermostat technology maintains a consistent temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit all year, ensuring that memorial services can take place irrespective of weather conditions.

Although the Hallowed Halls utilize state-of-the-art technology, Rabbi Moshe Shimon, CEO of the Jerusalem Burial Society, emphasizes that this underground cemetery is, in essence, a return to an age-old practice. "The Torah records the first burial as conducted by our forefather Abraham for Sarah, in the Cave of Machpelah," he says. "What we're doing today is essentially the same—just enhanced with today's technology."

In addition to their modern and well-lit environment, the Hallowed Halls feature a stunning art installation by globally-renowned artist Gabriel Yvelle. Created from thousands of pieces of metal and tinted glass, the large orb-like structures represent the cycle of life and the eternal flame (ner tamid).

Shimon explains that the Jerusalem Burial Society caters to all families and communities, "always prioritizing individual needs and preferences with the deepest sensitivity."

For more information: Jerusalem Burial Society

This article was written in cooperation with Jerusalem Burial Society