Exactly what are the NLJC’s burial and funeral services?
First of all, you should be aware that the NLJC does not have a burial fund. The cost of the funeral, plot and burial are to be met by the family of the deceased. We cannot give detailed figures here but note that these costs are increasing rapidly.
Why doesn’t the NLJC have a burial fund?
Most Liberal Judaism communities outside London are too small and newly established to have their own burial fund. The cost of financing such a fund would necessitate membership subscription rates thought to be unacceptably high.
About the name…what happened to the PJCEA?
Our community voted to choose the name Norwich Liberal Jewish Community (NLJC) in 2013. Initially for financial purposes. It was agreed at the 2018 AGM to formally change the registered name to Norwich Liberal Jewish Community. In all other other respects, we are the same community.
What does the NLJC offer?
The burial and funeral facilities we provide include:-
- pastoral support prior to the funeral
- providing support in dealing with legal formalities
- assisting with arrangements for the funeral
- arranging and paying for the services of a rabbi or a lay-reader, except when the deceased has been a member of the NLJC for less than two years. In this case a fee will be payable to the NLJC equivalent to two years’ full membership subscription rates, less any membership fees already paid. If the member had entered into a confidential arrangement with the Treasurer to pay a reduced subscription then the Treasurer may, by confidential arrangement, accept a lesser payment, although the NLJC recommends that the Treasurer should not accept a sum less than the equivalent of two years’ reduced subscription (less any fees already paid).
While the NLJC is willing and able to advise, all costs, including the cost of attendance by a Rabbi, will need to be met directly by the family.
Where can I be buried or cremated?
There are two “local” cemeteries with Jewish sections, namely
- the Norwich City cemetery on Bowthorpe Road, Norwich
- the Great Yarmouth District Council cemetery at Caister
The Jewish section of the Norwich City cemetery is under the administrative supervision of the Norwich Hebrew Congregation. When a plot is reserved the Norwich Hebrew Congregation will require details i.e. name(s) involved and the plot number(s).
Burial plots are purchased through Norwich City Council Cemetery Office. The person registering the death will be responsible for liaising with the Cemetery Office (telephone number 01603 212928) and in time the stonemason.
A copy of your agreement with Norwich City Council should be sent to the NLJC Burial Group for its records. This will also enable NLJC to inform the Norwich Hebrew Congregation (NHC). The funeral director and in time the stonemason will need to see a copy of the agreement.
The Jewish section of the Great Yarmouth District Council cemetery is not consecrated ground.
There are local authority Crematoria in Norwich (Earlham Road) and Gorleston (Oriel Avenue). Burial plots are also available at the Colney Wood Woodland Burial Park, although the Burial Park has no specified Jewish section.
Ashes may be interred and/or scattered at the crematoria, at the Jewish cemetery, Bowthorpe Road, Norwich and at Colney Wood.
Whilst I am accepted as Jewish within the terms of Liberal Judaism, I am not Jewish according to Orthodox halachah. The Norwich Hebrew Congregation is an Orthodox congregation. Does this mean that I cannot be buried in Norwich?
The NLJC has reached an understanding with the Norwich Hebrew Congregation that you can be buried in Norwich if any of the following criteria apply
- you are halachically Jewish i.e. Jewish within the terms of Orthodox Jewish Law
- you have one Jewish parent, mother or father, and have been brought up as a Jew
- you have been accepted by the Liberal Judaism Rabbinic Board as a convert to Liberal Judaism
Okay, so although I am not halachically Jewish, I can be buried in Norwich. What if I want to be cremated?
As long as you meet the conditions for burial, you may be cremated and your ashes interred in Norwich.
My partner is Jewish and wants to be buried in Norwich. Whilst I am not Jewish I have always been very supportive. Can I also be buried in Norwich?
No. Burial in the Jewish section of the Norwich City Cemetery on Bowthorpe Road is restricted to those who are regarded as halachically Jewish or who are regarded as Jewish for the purposes of membership of the NLJC.
But what if my partner plans to be cremated; can I have my ashes interred in Norwich also?
No. The same restrictions apply.
Do the same burial restrictions apply at Caister?
The Jewish section of the cemetery at Caister is not consecrated ground, although cemetery authorities have indicated that plots will not be disturbed for 100 years. It is available for the use of NLJC members and Friends of the NLJC. The Liberal Judaism rabbinic requirement is that non-Jewish partners and Friends should have been sympathetic to Judaism, supportive of the Jewish upbringing of their children, where appropriate, and of whom it could be said that they have a broadly Jewish life.
No non-Jewish symbols are permitted in the Jewish section in either cemetery.
Interment of ashes is permitted.
Types of burial
It is possible at Caister to be buried in-depth. This means that the first burial on a plot is at a greater depth, and the second burial is in the same plot at a lesser depth. The practice has been adopted by many other Jewish communities and has been approved by the Liberal Judaism Rabbinic Conference. The method is generally only adopted where the second (or upper) burial is the spouse or brother/sister/son/daughter/mother/father of the first deceased, and where the next of kin, at the time of the first death, approve.
I am planning to join the NLJC from another Liberal Judaism congregation. Do I stand to forfeit my burial rights with my old congregation?
If you wish to join the NLJC from another Liberal Judaism congregation you can do so in the knowledge that your burial rights will be maintained by your original congregation if you so wish. You would be expected to meet the cost of the original congregation’s scheme, with payment administered by the NLJC if you wish but you bear the cost. Your payments are unlikely to cover the cost of removal of the body to the congregation or travel by the original congregation’s undertakers to East Anglia and you will need to make arrangements for those costs to be met directly.
What are the likely costs of the funeral, plot and burial?
Charges depend on several factors, including whether burial or cremation is required, whether the Norwich or Caister or Colney Wood cemetery is used and whether or not the deceased was a council tax payer in Norwich or Great Yarmouth.
Costs are not quoted here as they rapidly become out of date. The NLJC Burial Group will, as far as possible, maintain up to date information relating to Norwich, Caister and Colney Wood, but costs should always be checked at the time as we cannot guarantee accuracy.
How might I meet these costs?
Funeral costs have increased considerably in the last few years. Costs will include such things as doctor’s fees for signing certificates, cemetery office fees for digging the plot, charges for the funeral directors cars, notices if required and so forth. A funeral plan is worth considering and there are many available. Such costs could be covered by a Whole Life insurance policy, which would require a monthly premium. You are strongly urged to investigate these further, but the NLJC is not able to recommend any particular policy or plan.
Who can I contact in the event of a death?
In the event of a death you may contact any member of the Burial Group. S/he will be able to assist in making the necessary arrangements.
The members of the Burial Group at February 2017 are as follows:
Sarah Boosey: 01362 694071
Miriam Barnett: 01603 615469
Any changes to the membership of this Group will be notified to the membership as soon as is practicable.
Any further questions
If you have any further questions regarding burial then please contact any member of the Burial Group.
(Revised Feb 2017)