(photo from cemeteryboard.com)
The Schara Tzedeck Cemetery Board has appointed its board of directors for 2018, and is planning more facility upgrades for the coming year.
The cemetery board is co-chaired by Jack Kowarsky and Arnold Silber. Other members of the board are Shirley Barnett, Harvey Dales, Joshua Hauser, Dr. Mark Schonfeld, Gary Segal, Herb Silber, Isidor Wolfe, Rabbi Yosef Wosk and Barrie Yackness. Honourary board members are Charles Diamond and Joseph Segal. Howard Kallner, president of Congregation Schara Tzedeck, also serves on the board in an ex-officio capacity.
The board has made significant improvements to the chapel in New Westminster over the past two years. Constructed in the early 1990s to house the chevra kadisha, as well as to provide a chapel at the New Westminster cemetery, this building was in need of repairs and upgrades. This $600,000 project was completed last year with the generous contributions of many in our community.
Other improvements to the New Westminster cemetery included beautification initiatives and projects to help manage the organization more efficiently, including developing a grave-finding system that people can instal on their mobile devices, a GIS (geographic information system) to better track records and land use at the cemetery, and the implementation of a system that broadcasts funerals on the internet so that those unable to attend in person can view the funeral. (This service is available at cemeteryboard.com.)
This year, the board is planning to move ahead with another key project. The community cemetery located in Surrey has about 2,500 plots, and began having burials in 2008. To date, there is little infrastructure at that location, only a small handwashing station and a portable building.
Plans are being developed for the construction of a chapel building that will allow the cemetery to better serve those who choose this location. The chapel will seat between 40 and 50 people, provide a private space for families to gather prior to a funeral service and have two accessible washrooms. It will also provide facilities for cemetery board groundskeepers to store equipment. Part of this project will include improvements to the fencing of the cemetery, as well as improving the gardening and landscaping to make the cemetery a more welcoming place.
The cemetery board provides its services to the entire community. Members and non-members of Congregation Schara Tzedeck may purchase plots in any of the cemeteries. Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and those involved with congregations associated with other Jewish movements, all use the chevra kadisha, which is comprised of diverse members of the greater Jewish community. Funeral directors Rev. Joseph Marciano and Howard Jampolsky (who also serves as the executive director) are available anytime to answer any questions, and to provide more information about the availability of burial plots in all three of the community’s cemeteries – New Westminster, Surrey and the Jewish section of Mountain View. They are also available to provide information about pre-planning funerals in order to relieve family members of this task during the difficult time when a loved one passes away. They can be reached at 604-733-2277.
To learn more about the board or to contribute to the current Surrey Chapel Project, call Jampolsky at 604-733-2277 ext. 204, or email [email protected].