Members of the OJC’s Chevrah Kaddishah organise burial, shivah and yarzheit prayers. Most funerals are held at the Jewish section of the Wolvercote cemetery. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details. Also there is a support and counselling service for those in need - BLESS (Bereavement, Loss and Emotional and Spiritual Support).
During Orthodox services, we are able to recite a memorial prayer for your departed relatives up to and including grandparents. This recitation will take place either after an Aliyah or after the hagbaah. Memorial Prayer requests must always be accompanied by a full Hebrew name to include "ben...." or "bat....". Parents’ names can often be found on gravestones or in a Ketubah.
However, if you are an OJC member, we would advise you to contact email@example.com who will forward your relatives' names and (preferably*) Hebrew date of death to the monthly lists. A reminder from the OJC will then alert you annually in advance of the yahrzeit date. If your request is more immediate, this recitation can still be made if you are present in shul.
* If you don't have a Hebrew date, please provide us with an English date and we will convert it for you.
A death in the Jewish Community: What happens? What to do?
If a member of your family dies, the OJC has a group of volunteers whose role is to assist relatives through the process: the Chevra Kadisha (CK). A chevra kadisha (Aramaic: חֶבְרָהקַדִישָא, "holy society") is an organization of Jewish men and women who see to it that the bodies of deceased Jews are prepared for burial according to Jewish tradition.
The advantage of having a burial society is that it lifts from the bereaved family the burden of dealing with the practical arrangements for burial. Here follows an explanation about the steps to take in case of death, how to contact us, what services we can provide and at what cost to the individual. There are some differences between Orthodox burials and those who choose a cremation, please see below – (e).
When a relative dies, or if a death is imminent, contact with the CK will be the first step, and the procedures will be explained. Mostly, a death certificate will be issued within days or even hours. In the event of a sudden or unexplained/unexpected death, where cause is not certain, the authorities may require a post mortem before issuing death certificate. In most situations, and particularly when the individual has been under the care of a medical practitioner, the cause of death will be clear and a certificate will be available within days, if not hours.
Once the death has occurred, the relative who will take responsibility for the funeral should contact the Chevra Kadisha - see (a); [NB: it is not necessary to call in the middle of the night]. Jewish custom is to arrange for the funeral as soon as is practical, but little can be done out of office hours, so call as soon as reasonably possible. If a burial plot has already been reserved in the Jewish Section of Wolvercote Cemetery run by the Oxford City Council, it will help if that document is to hand, but do not delay if it can’t immediately be located. You do not need to wait until the Death Certificate is issued, as that can take a day or so.
- If death happens in hospital/hospice, follow the advice below – see (b)
- Obtain the death certificate – see (c)
- The CK will contact the undertakers, arrange for the removal of the body, and assume responsibility for the administrative arrangements for the funeral – see (d)
- There may be arrangements for a shiva, see (f)
Finally, there is a cost involved in these services. Unlike many Burial Societies in the larger Jewish communities, OJC members make no contribution in advance towards the costs of burial. The CK will make all the necessary arrangements and will initially settle the costs, but will then issue a single invoice to the deceased’s representative within a few weeks. The exact costs depend on several factors, and are outside the control of the CK or the OJC, such as costs levied by the United Synagogue’s Tahara service in Bushey, which carries out the rituals associated with preparing a Jewish body for burial; undertakers’ costs of moving and caring for the body; the cost of the plot in Wolvercote Cemetery (and this last factor will depend on the place of residence of the deceased, with non-Oxford City residents required to pay higher charges). Non-members can also be buried under the aegis of the CK but will pay a ‘Service Charge’.
For further information, please contact the Chevra Kadisha or call Michael Ward (01865 311124).