Jewish life Life Stages Funerals COVID-19 FUNERAL UPDATE: The latest rules in England have limited the number of attendees at funerals to 15. The current procedures allow a maximum of 12 attendees which will stay the same for Jewish cemeteries. Stone settings - the government rules are clear that, whilst there is an exception from the “rule of six” for funerals, this does not extend to “other significant standalone life events”. Based on discussions with other communities, and also on information received from the Board of Deputies, it is now required to limit the number of attendees at stone settings to six, plus the Rabbi. This will be implemented from 29 September 2020. With regard to NHS Test and Trace, there is a notices around the cemetery with an NHS QR code which links to the NHS Test and Trace website. Although the cemetery is not a designated venue that is required to collect visitor records, with immediate effect we strongly encourage all visitors to the cemetery to use the QR code to access the NHS website, alternatively to email the office ahead of their visit with their contact details. All personal data provided in this way will be retained for 21 days before deletion. In addition, any visit to a grave involving more than one household and must be booked in advance through the cemetery office.All visitors to the cemetery, for any reason, are required to observe the current government requirements for social distancing. The new date for starting stone settings is set for 29th September 2020 - for more details, please be in touch with Micky Nathanson on 020 7535 0284 or one of WLS's Rabbis. The West London Synagogue Chevra Kedusha The Ritual Service Co-ordinator (sometimes known as the Sexton in other organisations) is here to provide whatever practical assistance and support you need in making the funeral arrangements. Please feel free to ask for help or advice. Although we are principally a Burial Society (chevra kedusha) for our Members, we do also arrange funerals for others of the Jewish faith, in particular those who wish to be buried in one of our Cemeteries. For more information contact: Micky Nathanson, Ritual Services Co-ordinator, on 020 7535 0284. Cemeteries Edgwarebury Cemetery:This is owned jointly by the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation, West London Synagogue of British Jews, Liberal Judaism, and Belsize Square Synagogue, and is operated by Edgwarebury Joint Burial Board (EJBB). The day-to-day running of the cemetery is in the hands of the Cemetery Director and their team of staff. Edgwarebury Cemetery is open during British Summer Time from 8.30am-5.00pm, and from 8.30am-4.00pm after the last weekend in October, when the clocks go back. The cemetery does close, however, two hours prior to the commencement of a Jewish holiday and of the Sabbath on a Friday, so during winter the cemetery can shut as early as 1.15pm. Alongside standard cemetery provision, Edgwarebury has an area for woodland burial as well. Hoop Lane Jewish Cemetery: This is owned jointly by the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation and West London Synagogue of British Jews, and is operated by the Joint Burial Committee (JBC). This is a heritage site, hence the pathways are not always level, and the grounds themselves are uneven, so please take extra care, especially in the wet. Hoop Lane opening times are the same as those for Edgwarebury. For more information contact: Micky Nathanson, Ritual Services Co-ordinator, on 020 7535 0284. Funeral services These are usually conducted by one of our rabbis, and can be traditional or personalised, according to the family’s wishes. Funerals are normally conducted within 2 days of the death, but there are many exceptions, especially when a post mortem needs to be carried out, or an inquest, or when family need to come from across the world. Shiva (mourners’ prayers) Most families choose to hold at least one night of evening prayers. These are usually led by one of our rabbis, but sometimes by a lay person. Some families ask for more than one night, and a few sit for the entire week. The prayers are normally at 8pm, but the time can be altered to suit the bereaved family, and family members often speak about the deceased person at these prayers. Memorial services Some families choose to hold a memorial service some months after the death of a loved one. This can be because the deceased was a public figure, and a formal set of eulogies is required. It can also be because not everyone could get to the funeral, or the family wished the funeral to be private. These are personalised services, and can be arranged via Micky Nathanson on 020 7535 0284. Consecration of a tombstone (stone setting) This is normally conducted 11 months after the death, though some families choose to do it earlier and some later. They are usually occasions where family members speak about the deceased, and the short service is often held around the grave, frequently also marking the end of formal mourning. Where West London have organised the burial, we will also be happy to organise a stone setting. We can also organise consecration of a memorial (plaque, rosebush, columbarium niche) to someone who has been cremated.