The mitzvah of disposing of Jewish text

by | Apr 21, 2022 | What’s Happening

Clean up and burial
Sunday, May 22, 9 am–11:30 am
Mikro Kodesh Cemetery

The Young Men’s Giving Circle, NADIV, led the Jewish community in a cleanup of Mikro Kodesh Cemetery in Chesapeake last October. Parts of the cemetery had succumbed to nature and time, but as vines were cut and plots were cleared from overgrowth, a sense of history and community could be felt. The oldest stone in Mikro Kodesh, dating back to 1848, is a testament to the longevity of the Jewish community in Tidewater.

Although cemeteries are not often visited like synagogues or JCCs, they hold great importance in Jewish life and tradition. Jewish burial is so important that when the first Jews arrived in North America in 1654, the first Jewish institution designated was a Jewish cemetery.

In addition to the importance of Jewish burial for people, it also pertains to texts and objects with holiness, or Kedusha, that are damaged or no longer usable. These items may be an old torah scroll, an old or damaged prayer book, Mezuza scrolls, or even tefillin straps. These items and texts are often referred to as shaimos or genizah.

Often, communities designate genizah burial for larger items or community collections. And, that’s what YAD, together with Chabad of Tidewater and The Kollel plans to do again next month for Jewish Tidewater with another cleanup and burial at Mikro Kodesh Cemetery.

The Cleanup/Gnitzah Burial is for any and everyone in the community and will take place at Mikro Kodesh on May 22. The morning cleanup will tend to overgrowth in the cemetery around the fences and will culminate with a community Gnitzah Burial.

To volunteer, sign up at Those with shaimos can reach out to Matt Kramer-Morning at for collection times at the Sandler Family Campus, and to Rabbi Levi Brashevitsky at rabbilevi@ with questions about what is or isn’t shaimos.

Matthew Kramer-Morning