Burying Jewish books: UJFT makes it possible

by | Sep 2, 2019 | Uncategorized

Rabbi Michael Panitz and members of Temple Israel at Mikro Kodesh Cemetery.

On Sunday, August 18, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater took the first step in creating a coordinated community book burial. This came in response to Rabbi Michael Panitz, who contacted UJFT with a need to bury Temple Israel’s unused Holy books.

The act of burying Holy books (not simply books written by Jewish authors) is a ritual designed to honor the books and prevent further degradation. Performing a proper burial in a cemetery is the ultimate sign of respect for books that are no longer useful.

UJFT is now exploring potential interest in starting a community-wide book burial and is seeking donations to the Cemetery Fund for future needs.

Increasing the Cemetery Fund will enable UJFT to respond to future community needs. Benefits of a viable Cemetery Fund include: maintenance and upkeep to ensure that the cemeteries do not become overgrown or forgotten; annual book burial, and the ability of Jewish Family Service to provide graves and headstones to indigent families.

Books that were buried in August came from Temple Israel and Strelitz International Academy. In addition to burying four boxes of unused Holy books, UJFT coordinated with Temple Israel, who donated $900 to the Cemetery Fund, to cover the cost to dig the grave and bury the books.

The grave is large enough to accommodate a significant amount of books from area synagogues and schools. “Our hope is to build the Cemetery Fund and make this an annual event,” says Glenn Saucier, Sandler Family Campus director of operations.

For more information, contact Benita Watts at Ops@ujft.org.

Lisa Richmon