Jewish Mayor Koch Being Buried In Church Cemetery

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    What a Ferd!

    Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch Dies; Will Be Buried in Church Cemetery

    He was finished with public office, but he would never be through with the city. At age 83, Koch paid $20,000 for a burial plot at Trinity Church Cemetery, at the time the only graveyard in Manhattan that still had space.

    It also includes a Jewish prayer and the epitaph he wrote after his stroke:


    I paid $12,000 and obtained 2 plots in the Ancient Cemetery in Tzfas, 1 for myself, and the other for my spouse.

    This makes it less than 1/3 of the price per plot, and far more Kedusho, and nostalgia, being that this cemetery has been in use for over 1 millennium, with great Gedolim.

    Our plot is a few feet away from Yair ben Pinchos, who was mentioned this past Wednesday, 9 days ago, in the Daf Yomi {Shabbos 112}.

    yaakov doe

    He chose the church cemetery to make it easy for the public to visit the grave. The funeral is in Temple Emanual the reform temple. There is not a single Jewish descendant of the founding members of that temple and with acceptence of goysha spouses and patralinial descent probaby few Jewish members today. Not much difference between the temple and the church which owns the cemetery.


    It’s a terrible thing that he isn’t being buried in a Jewish cemetery. That said, I do envy the schar he will receive for always defending Israel. He stood up for Israel against those who opposed it, even when it wasn’t politically correct to do so. This unwavering dedication to the safety of our brothers and sisters will no doubt grant him a huge zchus in the next world.


    147: The Tanna’s name was Pinchas ben Yair.


    His Mother was buried as a jew, his father was buried as a jew, and he is buried as a christian.


    Does anybody know if it’ll be fenced in as I’ve read elsewhere?

    Interesting how one can make a kiddush Hashem (with the tombstone inscription, especially shma yisroel which will be seen by thousands) in the midst of such an obvious chilul Hashem, so I’d like to know if there’s more to the story.

    Even if technically done according to halacha (which is implausible if he used non Orthodox Rabbis) it’s definitely in poor taste Jewish-wise.


    “Above all, he loved his country, the United States of America,”



    If any part of it is unkosher ie. not in acordance with Halacha the whole “thing” is a chillul Hashem. Get that straight a lot of people dont understand this. If the whole thing is not in accordance with Hashems Will and part of it is a chillul Hashem then the story, issue whatever under discussion CANT be a Kiddush Hashem.


    Born a Jew, and died a Christian.

    Welcome to gehenom, Mr Mayor (Toeiva) Koch.

    Git Meshige

    Whil despised Koch for his Anti Torah views and his arrogant behaviour, in no uncertain terms should anyone label him a Christian. Once a Jew always a Jew. The fact that he is buried in a non Jewish cemetary, does not render him a Christian.


    Ed Koch had his headstone engraved over 3 years ago. On his headstone he has the first posuk of Shema in English and Hebrew. He also has a quote. The quote is the last words of Daniel Pearl HY”D “My Father was Jewish, My Mother was Jewish, I am Jewish.”

    Daniel Pearl was murdered 11 years ago today.

    That sure sounds like hashgocha pratis to me.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    loshon hara may be worse than anything Mayor Koch ever did in his life.

    If you’ll go through hilchos loshon hora, you’ll find that there’s no issur here.


    About 3 years ago when Mayor Koch bought the plot in the church cemetery, the question was brought up about being buried in a non-Jewish cemetery. The answer was that since there is a fence completely surrounding his grave, there is no issue about the cemetery. I don’t remember the source but I’m pretty sure it was reliable. In any case, it is best not to judge, lest ye be judged.


    Ed Koch, as a Jew, should not be buried in a churchyard.

    Ed Koch should not have supported gay rights.

    That said, he was a tinok shenishba. He was born to non-frum parents and never had any shaichis to frumkeit in his entire life.

    -As a young man, he fought for his country in WWII. During his service, he won awards for bravery.

    -As a middle-aged man he joined the freedom riders who traveled to the South in support of equality for blacks. This was a potentially dangerous course of action, since the KKK and their supporters had attacked, beaten and even murdered others who traveled to the South to combat racism.

    -As mayor, he helped bring New York City back from near-bankruptcy and urban decay brought about by twelve years of incompetence from John Lindsay and Abe Beam.

    -While in office, and after leaving office, he was always in full-throated defense and support of Israel.

    -Although he was personally liberal, he crossed party lines on more than one occasion to support candidates he thought were best for his city, his country, and the state of Israel.

    -He never showed the anti-frum bias that other non-frum politicians and celebrities exhibit. He always unabashedly and proudly identified himself as first and foremost a Jew.

    To reduce his life to only actions that we, as frum Jews, know are wrong is to present an incomplete and inaccurate picture of Ed Koch.


    Wiy: I know the two are contradictory, that’s why I was wondering if there’s more to the story. I honestly can’t reconcile the two and know the chilul Hashem overrides everything, yet can’t understand how proclaiming shma yisroel in public can be anything but a kiddush Hashem.


    Confucious and Yenta raise the canard that Koch was a homosexual. As far as I know, the only evidence for this is that he never married. When he was running in the Democratic primary for governor, some people used the slogan “Vote for Cuomo, not the homo.” Mario Cuomo distanced himself from this slogan.

    As far as I know, cemetery plots are available in Jewish cemeteries in the outer boroughs. Koch’s wish to buried in Manhattan could be interpreted as a slap in the face for the other boroughs.


    Not to actually be happy for a person’s death, but I certainly don’t consider this death a loss for the Jewish people, or for humanity as a whole.

    Git Meshige

    What does the murder of Daniel Pearl have to do with the death of Ed Koch? Why is that Hashgacha Pratis exactly. There are only 365 days a year. So one can always make any connection with a particular date, as something happens every day. Not sure what the brainstorm is exactly


    How can anyone be mevaze meis a tinok sheNishba after seeing what he chose to put on his matzeiva?

    Look up the picture and then come back and post.

    I read elsewhere that he actually had asked a Rav because he wanted to be buried on Manhattan Island.

    Mr. Koch was moved by the murder of Daniel Pearl HY”D and Mr. Pearl’s last words. Again, find the picture first, and then post.


    A Tzu drayter, who was a very mediocre mayor. I hope Rav Meir Kahane HY”D, the Berach Moishe ZY”A and the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZYA are his dayanim in the yeshiva shel maala. Anyone who read his book or remembers certain things knows what I mean :).

    BDE. mit an emmes.


    Git Meshige,

    3 years ago when Ed Koch erected his headstone he chose to use it as a declaration that he was a proud Jew. To do so he used the last words of Daniel Pearl H”YD. Pearl was also a non-frum Jew who chose to affirm his Jewish before he died al kiddush Hashem.

    Ed Koch sought to make his lasting memory be an emulation of Daniel Pearl and Koch died on the same day as Pearl, a 1/365 chance.

    Daniel Pearl is in Gan Eden and I am sure that after the necessary time Ed Koch will be there too.


    DaasYochid: mechilas kevodcha, this, along with many other comments in the coffee room, is FULL of lashon hara. those who speak of the aveiros of another are opening themselves up to being scrutinized in shmayim, H’yerachaim!

    acharei-mos, kedoshim, emor I’ve always heard, better to err on the side of caution (true yiddishkeit)


    He was a good mayor, and strong advocate for Israel. I am stunned and saddened that he left such a tzavaah for his burial, but it still does not take away from the good he did. The Daniel Pearl coincidence is eerie, to say the least. Was the Jewish date the same then, as well? Now THAT would be true H”P.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕


    According to whose definition of loshon hora? You’re telling me that it’s best not to err. That means you don’t know, you’re speculating. I’m telling you that I know it’s not.



    I think that in this case the English Calendar might be more significant because that is what lead to the correlation being noticed by the media and the world wide (which wouldn’t have happened if it was only the Hebrew dates that coincided).

    That being said. They both died on Erev Shabbos Parshas Yisro. Pearl H”YD was murdered on the 19th of Shevat and Koch died on the 21st of Shevat.


    Oomis, I agree with benignuman.

    This is the “true Hashgacha Pratis” (what isn’t?) even though it’s the secular date, as this is what the media notices, as he wrote. If it were the “real” or Hebrew date, then only we would notice it. The greater kiddush Hashem, in this case, seems to be the secular date matching up.

    Very interesting.


    There used to be numerous Jewish cemeteries in Manhattan. However, the only remaining ones are the three owned and maintained by Congregation Shearith Israel, which have been full for a century and a half. All the other cemeteries have been sold, with the remains disinterred, and records are incomplete as to what happened to the remains. 🙁 Here is one sad example:


    rt – While it’s not LH, I agree with your post. I know a lot of people including Frum & Frei Jews. How many Frei Jews are not just Pro-Israel, but also proud that they are Jews? You can count them on one hand. So they should stop looking at this guy’s Chessronos and look at his Maalos. Even if being buried in this cemetary is wrong acc. to Halacha, he certainly didn’t understand this. Does anyone think the Mayor nowadays is proud of his heritage?


    I was robbed and shaken down during his time. I have every right to remember him for the lousy mayor that he was. I also have every right to mention how he treated the true leaders of our people.

    In his time, I feared walking the streets of Crown Heights at night. I was shaken down in the subway when coming back to Manhattan from simchas beis hashoeva in 1988, and that is my most lasting memory of those years. When I last lived in Crown Heights (which I avoided doing in the Koch and Dinkins years, much as I wanted to) during Bloomberg’s time, the denizens of once off-limits Nostrand Ave were afraid of me during the day, and I was addressed as “boss” at 1 AM one summer’s night by local toughs who realized I was right behind them when they were openly breaking drug laws. In 1988, I’d have ended up with a knife in my back for seeing that.

    He basically tried to shame the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZYA, who never endorsed any candidate for any office in the US, but gave all who asked brochos for success, into giving him an endorsement. The Rebbe of course refused politely and still gave him a brocho. This is on video, and it shows the real Ed Koch – a sleazy politician who pit everyone against everyone else for his own gain. For revenge, he turned properties that the Jewish community should have had over to a “church” group that put a criminal element in the buildings.

    He did the same to Satmar because he did not get the Williamsburgh vote.

    I can’t remember if it was Yehuda Levin or someone else who got my protest vote the year I could have voted for Koch. I was too tired to find out how to write in Bernhard Hugo Goetz.

    Once he was out, he said whatever would get him the press coverage that he so loved. He was really the same as a certain MAF personality-wise, but he was brighter so he achieved more. I do think, however, that 9-11 was a wakeup call for him, and that his most recent proclamations were sincere.

    Still, I will always remember: “Ed Koch was not a happy man. Ed Koch was a (word for m”z that rhymes with hay) man.” (attributed to R’ Meir Kahane HYD but not confirmed – certainly not my original slogan.)

    after the necessary time Ed Koch will be there too.

    Yes, like most every Jew who does not get kooreis. That amount of time is 11 months. Unlike Eliezer ben Dordai, who could buy oilam haba in a moment, Ed Koch caused real damage to many Jews, and he did not ask for mechila in their lifetimes.

    For now, he is enjoying the company of a few crack dealers whose businesses he never shut down.

    As for the date coincidence, he and Daniel Pearl only expressed their Judaism when it was too late. That is why the coincidence is the secular date!


    Koch was the type of Democrat I could have a conversation with. He was not anti-American like today’s Democrats. He was for America and for our military and our fight for freedom against totalitarian aggression abroad, in the mold of JFK, Truman, LBJ, etc.

    His endorsement of Bush and McCain attests to his love of country and ahavat yisrael, and I enjoyed his political commentary and desire to stamp out corruption in local politics.

    His memory should be for a blessing.

    That being said, I don’t think the “daat torah” would permit watching his funeral. R’ Soloveitchik didn’t allow people to watch Kennedy’s funeral mass on television, since he saw this as an extension of the prohibition on entering a church. Likewise, I don’t think one could find a heter for viewing a Reform service on television.

    Especially considering that Temple Emanu El is a holdout of Classical Reform.

    Be kitzur, American Reform in the 1880s totally stopped any ritual observance (see the Pittsburgh Platform of 1885), since they denied the binding nature of mitzvot.

    This was unlike the earliest German maskilim, like Chorin, who employed tradition and were more or less halakhic/neolog. Certainly, they used certain aesthetics which were not problematic in the sanctuary (like Geneva robes, choirs, vernacular, learned sermons, etc. which the Hirschians and early American Orthodox used), but their theology urged little more than an Ethical Monotheism devoid of anything uniquely Jewish.

    Thus, the desire to emulate Christian churches in aesthetic.

    The Reform environment I was raised in was more like “Reformadox.” Nowadays, many Reform Jews individually (my household incluced) observe kashrut, shabbat, tefillin, etc, and more closely resembles Reconstructionism, which is itself a liberal offshoot of Conservative Judaism and places an emphasis on observing what they view as folkways. Reform Jews participate in non-denominational yeshivot like Hadar and Pardes, where Orthodox-trained and Halakhic old-style JTS faculty train them in making a leining on Gemara/Rashi/Tosafot/rishonim, etc. Hebrew Union College employs Prof. Michael Chernick, who has semicha from RIETS and is active in the left-wing Modern Orthodox sector, and he teaches seminar courses in “Talmud with Rishonim.” One of his syllabi online shows that Reform rabbinical students in his class learned perek slishi of Sanhedrin with Ritva, Tosfos Rid, Ramban, Meiri, and Rashba.

    Emanu-El is a holdout of the olden days resisting this otherwise positive development, and therefore is problematic.


    Bear – While I understand your sentiments about crime, I’m not sure about the political revenge you’re talking about. There could be more to the story. Even though this was right after the libs becoming big in America, I don’t think you can fault him about the crime waves. It’s known in the US this transformation occured in the sixties. All the US had unprecented crime since then. As a matter of fact, I don’t think anyone else at that time would have done a better job regarding the crime statistics. It got even worse under Dinkins. People were very liberal minded then and crime wasn’t an election issue. It got to a point were even the libs couldn’t take it anymore and that’s why Rudy got in because he made this an election topic.


    To all above posters. It was not uncommon in Europe to have a section partitioned off from a non-jewish cemetery to be used solely for Jews. Mr Koch consulted with Rabbonim and aside from fencing off his area he also acquired the rights for a gate into the cemetery near his plot to be known as the Jewish gate and only Jewish funeral processions will go through it.

    While myself and I am assuming most posters (we should all live long) would not want such a resting place, before people say that he is being buried in contradiction to Halacha at least check with a Rabbi for clarification if what he did was okay(It actually may be kosher).

    Regarding temple emanuel for the services and many of his liberal policies (including an even if Halachichally kosher definitely not normative burial): A Jew who grew up in early – mid 1900s America without true formal education is a true tinok shenishbar you cannot judge him because of that.Aside from lack of knowledge there was also a constant undercurrent of bashing orthodoxy as something for the old world.

    May he be Zoche to find a resting place in Gan Eden


    Billybob,the last thing you wrote is Christian. It is from their book.


    Does anyone have Shiva details? Is there a Mishna listing to sign up? & if so:- Is it for the Shlosim? or the 1st Johrzeit?

    Has anyone been assigned to recite Kaddish for the upcoming 11 months? Fortunately, Ed Koch missed the problematic Johrzeit timing just by 10 days [meaning that once Adar arrives and would have been Niftar therein, big problem with scheduling of Johrzeit in a leap year].


    mdd, the likely original source, like much of “Judeo-Christian” ethics/mores is not Christian even if that particular saying may be so.


    I agree with abcd2. We tend to think of our NY metro experience as the way it’s been since Har Sinai. There have many Jews buried together with Christians in nondenominational cemeteries. All you have to do is look at graves in France of the soldiers who died on D Day and see the Stars of David scattered among the crosses


    There was an unfourtunate storyof a yid whose non jewish wife was only prepared to allow a jewish burial if she would eventually be interred adjacent to him.

    If i remember right the question was brought to r’ osher westheim, who eventually referred it to r’ yisroel yaakov fisher zatza”l, who allowed him to be buried at the side of the beis hakevarois with her next to him. I don’t know if they required a fence.


    The Conservative Movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards actually paskened on what to do about giving Jewish burial to an intermarried couple.

    They say that a non-Jewish spouse can be buried alongside the Jewish spouse, as long as there is a wall 10 tefachim high or a path 4 amot wide separating the non-Jew from Jewish graves.

    the shtarke

    this is what is known as an am ho-oretz

    [Episcopal News Service]
    Koch, 88, who called himself a secular Jew, died Feb. 1 of congestive heart failure. His funeral was held Feb. 4 at Temple Emanu-El on the East Side of Manhattan. Current New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former U.S. President Bill Clinton were among those who eulogized the three-term mayor who helped New York rebound from fiscal troubles in the 1970s. Koch remained a visible icon of the city.

    Former New York Mayor Ed Koch.

    The rector took Koch on a tour of the grounds and showed him where his grave would be in the non-denominational cemetery on a rise overlooking Amsterdam Avenue.

    He was also instructed to have rails installed around his plot, so he ordered them.

    It was widely reported that he paid $20,000 for the plot, which was one of the few left in all of Manhattan. Kochtold the New York Times in 2008 that the purchase had been a good investment because the stock market, unlike the price of cemetery space, had since gone down.

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