London: Reform Rabbi Has New Burial Idea For Jews

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A Reform rabbi is encouraging couples to consider being buried on top of each other in single graves to save money and space in cemeteries. Rabbi Ian Morris, of Sinai Reform Synagogue in Leeds, suggested the idea in the latest edition of his newsletter, Sinai Chronicle, arguing that double-depth burials were a “much more efficient form of land utilisation” that considerably extended the life of a cemetery.

Morris said this measure should be now offered in spaces for exclusively Jewish couples, as it had several advantages. “Historically, the norm is to reserve the plot next door when the first partner dies. I’m saying, move away from side-by-side burials. There is shortage of cemetery space everywhere.

He stressed that double-depth burials were not “un-Jewish” and that they were routine for certain sections of the Jewish community. “While it is historically rarer amongst the Ashkenazim, the Sephardim have been at ease with the practice for a very long time.”

(Source: The Guardian UK)

24 COMMENTS

  1. It happens to be that there are alot of ‘Jewish’ cemetaries in Europe which are not even ‘Achusaz Kever’. Every 50 years or so they destroy it and revitalize it, which is totally against Halocho.

    I cant imagien Morris’ idea who be acceptable by the Frum.

  2. I recall somewhere a halacha that there has to be at least three Tefachim of earth around the MES, then others can be buried in the area. I believe that is what is being done at Har Menuchot in Yerushalayim, in the layered graves section.

  3. #9 who said he’s jewish? maybe his grandfather was a jew therefore that makes him a jew type of thing.

    Cremation also saves tons of space. (just a thought)

  4. The relevant siman is YD 362:4. Evel Rabbati says you may not bury on top of a body.Ramban says you may if you leave 3 or 6 tefahim (not clear which he said) in between the two bodies. SA rules 6. Shevut Yaakov, cited in PT, says that one can ignore these rules if there is insufficient space, as a defense of the practice in Prague.

    Please don’t assume that just because something was said by someone with the label “Reform” it’s inherently wrong.

  5. Check out many sugyos in shas about kuchin, (Bava Basra, perek Beis Kor and others) and other stlyes of kevarim, in which these overlaps were routinely done.
    Obviously, if the idea came from a treif source, which shold automatically passel it, but all I meant to bring out is that there actually is precedent.

  6. B”H, it’s been 36 years since I’ve read the book. I believe that Rabbi Maurice Lamm’s “The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning” mentions that the Prague cemetery was nine layers deep and that the one in Paris was four deep. #12’s reason was cited.

    BTW, British “Reform” is roughly American
    “Conservative.” I don’t know if they include the recent reforms of the American Conservatives.

  7. Being an englishman, I am aware of this propaganda seeking “rabbi” who is desperately trying to attract more members to his dying community. Many (probably) most of his congregants are anyway non-jews according to halacha. He is trying to reach the headlines as being a caring and modern minded “vicar for jews” and it is only a pity that YW should even mention his name and so support his unjewish cause. It may indeed be possible to bury like that al pi halacha but if it comes from him and his like then we should ban it anyway!! Dont give any even sideway support to these charlatans who laim to be speaking Judaism.

  8. After all England is the country of the double-deckers!
    #14 & 16: well said
    Editors: Leeds and London are 100’s of kilometers away from each other

  9. The problem with reform Jews is that many of them are not Jews. I realize that many people don’t want to hear the truth but the movement is just about dead. You see, on Friday night the kids would rather be in a disco, playing video games or generally having oilum hazeh then be in shul. The best that we can do is to try and be mekarev them. But be careful, many are not Jewish.

  10. I’ll agree w/ #14 & 16 that we don’t need to support this guy at all, but I do, for curiosoity’s sake, want to go look up the relevant da’as torah on this subject. So, thanks to those who posted that info.

  11. #21 you are simply naive especially when you are trying to bring proof from hitler. According to torah law in order to be jewish your mother must be a jew and if she is not you must be convert according to halacha. now according to reform Judaism even if your father is a jew you are jewish, also their method of converting is not according to torah law. maybe they abide by the new testament and not the torah regardless in those 2 cases you are simply not jewish. now according to hitler, yes if your father was a jew thats good enough reason to be burned and even if your grandfather was a jew.

  12. B”H

    Re: #20

    Actually, Friday night is the most important time for Reform Jews. They are all in synagogue then and not on Shabbat morning for the most part.

  13. Username: R’ Shalom comment number 24
    First, of all “reform” is not a level of observance.
    Second, a “reform” “Rabbi” has a status of a hertic and you don’t have to judge his with any merit.
    This new judaisim you have made is throwing the whole war of the bible which our Rabbi’s talked about and has suffering for in the garbage.
    We need to worry about our camp and not those (i.e. hertics, workers of the start, etc.)outside the camp. Remember Judaisim is not a religion but a way of life. People like you make it/us like horses licking the salt block, if you get me jist.

  14. According to torah law in order to be jewish your mother must be a jew and if she is not you must be convert according to halacha.

    When did Gershom convert?