Where the Jewish section is planned at Seaview Cemetery. (photo from Sunshine Coast Jewish Burial Society)
About 18 months ago, a small group of Jewish seniors living on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast approached the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) asking that a section of Seaview Cemetery in Gibsons/Roberts Creek be set aside to accommodate Jewish burials. Since then, the Sunshine Coast Jewish Burial Society has been incorporated and, after many discussions and meetings, an area of the cemetery has been designated for such use.
The SCRD has allocated 30 burial plots for burials according to Jewish rites and practices and, this Sunday afternoon, Dec. 7, Rabbi Lindsey Bat Joseph will officiate at the dedication of the site.
The Sunshine Coast Jewish Burial Society was incorporated as a society under the B.C. Society Act on Jan. 7, 2014, and as a nonprofit society on Oct. 1, 2014, with Irene King, Rita Sadlik and Michael Weiner as members of the board. Renee Switzer has also recently joined the board.
During this project, the committee discovered through speaking with many of the Jewish people living in (and moving to) this part of the province that it may help form a more cohesive community, as more people choose to live in the region. The small towns and villages are quite spread out along Highway 101, though residents do get together from time to time to celebrate and mark Jewish occasions or festivals, with the occasional visit from a rabbi.
If there should be a death, it is important to feel a sense of community and for people to come together to sit shivah and support the mourners. The society will form a local Chevra Kadisha and would appreciate help and guidance from other such groups in the Lower Mainland.
In the meantime, for anyone in the Sunshine Coast area on Sunday, the dedication at the cemetery will take place at 2 p.m. For more information (and offers of support), call Sadlik at 604-886-4906.