If you have reached this page because someone is approaching the end of their life or has just died, Rabbi Gordon will be glad to speak with you and offer guidance. Please call the Office at 518-272-8872 or email Office@BerithSholomTroy.org. Outside of office hours, please call and follow the“urgent” instructions rather than leaving a voicemail.
The Capital District’s Jewish funeral home is Levine Memorial. You can call them at any time for immediate needs at 518-438-1002. Rabbi Gordon has worked with them and with many local non-Jewish funeral homes.
Services can be held in the synagogue, at a funeral home, or graveside.
In Jewish tradition, when someone dies, we say zichrono/ zichronah/ zichronam livrachah (may his/her/their memory be a blessing, abbreviated z”l). When we have good memories they are a blessing in our lives. Other times we have to learn how to transform hard memories into blessings. We make their memories a blessing not just by remembering but by carrying on the best of who they were; or in difficult relationships, what we learned from them not to do. When you live out those values in your own life, then through you their memories become a blessing in the world, to people who never even knew them. May your loved one’s memory grow as a blessing.
— Rabbi Gordon
You can find directions to the cemetery here.
The Congregation Berith Sholom cemetery lies within the Elmwood Hill Cemetery in Troy, NY. The Congregation owns two areas for burial separated by a few hundred yards. The old cemetery was established in the 1800s, and the newer area was purchased early in the 21st century with funds bequeathed to the congregation by Ruth Marinsky z”l. The original gate was restored in 2022 in memory of Alan Ira Sirvint z”l by his husband Ed Rhubart.
Jews and Jewish-adjacent family members are welcome to be buried in our cemetery, though the service and symbolism should not be those of another religion. One does not need to be a member to purchase a burial plot or be buried in our cemetery. The burial of cremated remains is permitted.
Cost for a single plot, including perpetual care of the ground (mowing, reseeding, etc.):
There is a separate fee for opening and filling the grave, set by the company that does the work.
For more information about purchasing a plot, please call the Office at 518-272-8872 or email the Cemetery Chair at Cemetery@BerithSholomTroy.org.
The services of the congregation’s rabbi and use of the sanctuary for a funeral or memorial service are included with the deceased person’s Berith Sholom membership.
For former members and non-members, an honorarium of $650 to the officiant is specified by the Capital District Board of Rabbis and Cantors (Feb. 2022). It is also appropriate to make a donation to the congregation of the officiating clergy.
If the officiant is not the rabbi of Congregation Berith Sholom, please make those arrangements directly or through the funeral home. The person making the arrangements should also notify Berith Sholom of the burial, 518-272-8872 or Office@BerithSholomTroy.org.
In Jewish tradition, we reverently return the body to the earth to nourish the soil. We treat a worn-out body the same as we treat a worn-out book that contains God’s name, burying rather than burning it. While cremation is not a traditional Jewish custom, it is becoming more commonplace, and you may bury cremated remains in the Berith Sholom cemetery just as you would bury a body.
Please consider, however, that cremation is not an ecologically sound or carbon-neutral choice, given that it burns fossil fuel to reach the necessary high heat. Burial, on the other hand, is a time-honored form of composting, and cemeteries preserve open green space. It is not necessary to spend large amounts of money on a fancy casket; in fact Jewish tradition mandates simplicity in everything connected with funeral, burial, and mourning.
Recommendations from Rabbi Gordon for when death is approaching, after a death has happened, and planning ahead for yourself or others.
If you can, learn the individual's Jewish name (including parent's name) if you don't know them. Contact the rabbi and/or funeral home if you have one in mind.
What To Do When a Loved One is Dying – From My Jewish Learning
End of Life – Includes many topics. From My Jewish Learning
Jewish Death and Mourning 101 – From Ritualwell
Glossary of Jewish and general terms related to the end of life – From My Jewish Learning
Death and Mourning: Judaism is a lot like your BFF – there when you need it – From JewBelong
Jewish Prayer for the Sick: Mi Shebeirach – because the Mi Shebeirach asks for healing of spirit as well as body, it can be appropriate to recite it even as a person approaches the end of their life (includes videos).
May the Angels Carry You: A conversation about prayers for the deathbed with Rabbi Simcha Raphael – A podcast which includes music.
These 10 Debbie Friedman songs are what we need right now – Videos
End of Life Songsheet – Compiled to Rabbi G. Rayzel Raphael
Rabbi G. Rayzel Raphael's Music
Sign up for eight helpful, informative, and beautiful emails to guide you through major rituals as you grieve – From My Jewish Learning
Brief animated video guides to Jewish death and mourning rituals – From BimBam.com
Mourning and Mitzvah: A Guided Journal for Walking the Mourner's Path – Book
Grief in Our Seasons: A Mourner's Kaddish Companion – Book
The Mourner's Kaddish: A Memorial Prayer in Praise of God – Includes videos and links
Text of the Mourner's Kaddish – Aramaic, transliteration, and English
Marge Piercy's "Kaddish" poem – In English
What is the Kaddish – Animated video from BimBam.com
Learn How to Say the Mourner's Kaddish – Animated video from BimBam.com
Collected poems from the Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, including We Remember Them
A Time To Prepare: A Practical Jewish Guide to End of Life Planning – Jewish Sacred Aging
Ethical Wills: A Rich Tradition – From My Jewish Learning
The Conversation Project – Helping people share their wishes for care through the end of life.
Five Wishes – An easy-to-use and inexpensive advance directive that you can complete by yourself.
Death With Dignity-Albany – An independent, local, grassroots group founded in 2015 to make it easier for people to talk about end-of-life issues, to learn more about our options, and to make plans to ensure that our wishes are honored when the time comes.
Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (NY State) – The MOLST form is a way of documenting a person’s preferences concerning life-sustaining treatment. It is signed by a licensed medical practitioner and can be carried with you.
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