The Synagogue Council of Massachusetts

Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts (JCAM)

E-mail: [email protected]

a unique organization, established with the professional assistance of the Synagogue Council, CJP and JCRC, to arrest and reverse the process of neglect and abandonment of Jewish cemeteries. An affiliate of the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts, JCAM is a full-time, professional central cemetery management agency.

1999 was a year of tremendous growth for the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts. There are now eighty cemeteries under JCAM's management in a geographical area that includes Brockton, Wakefield, Waltham, Wayland, West Roxbury and Woburn. Included in that eighty are the original five abandoned cemeteries that shocked the Jewish community in 1984 and inspired the creation of the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts. Today, thanks to the efforts of JCAM's lay volunteers and dedicated professional staff, there are no abandoned cemeteries in the area.

Under the JCAM umbrella are Temple Ohabei Shalom's cemetery in East Boston -- one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the area, with burial records dating back to the mid-1800s -- and the newest Jewish cemetery in Massachusetts, Beit Olam Cemetery in Wayland. In September, 1999, Beit Olam (Eternal House) was dedicated as the first, new Jewish cemetery in Massachusetts in nearly half a century.

The idea for a cemetery in the Metro West area surfaced about ten years ago at Temple Shir Tikva (UAHC) in Wayland under the leadership of Rabbi Herman Blumberg. As the synagogue's cemetery committee began discussions of land purchase, sales projections, financing and regulations, it became clear that in order to meet the necessary numbers, the scope of the market of potential lot owners needed to be widened. Sixteen synagogues, including Reform and Conservative congregations, were contacted and the Beit Olam Cemetery became a reality. By the end of 1999, more than 60% of the available lots at Beit Olam were sold, a number that far exceeded anyone's expectations.

JCAM is proud to announce the appointment of its first full-time Executive Director, Jane D. Salk of Newton. The former administrator of Temple Sinai in Brookline, Jane assumed her new role in November 1999. The story of JCAM and its incredible growth over the past fifteen years is a success story that should make the Jewish community proud. Jane looks forward to sharing that story as JCAM continues its mission of restoration, preservation and continuity. In addition to serving as Greater Boston's Chevrat K'vod Hamet, guardians of the dead, JCAM performs a number of mitzvah projects including maintaining a genizah (depository) for the community's shaymot (religious material), conducting book burials, and maintaining a growing computer database of Greater Boston's Jewish cemeteries that serves as a source of genealogical research with inquiries coming from all over the world.

JCAM is a nonprofit communal agency that depends on financial support from the community to provide its unique services. It gratefully accepts tax deductible contributions, including gifts of graves. Many families own graves which, for a variety of reasons, they will never use. Donated to JCAM, they achieve two mitzvot, as they help the organization and a family in need.

For further information, please call

(617) 244-6509 or click below

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