The Non Kosher Grave — Our Haunted Heritage



Planting flowers on a grave is indeed not a Jewish tradition– neither is being buried in an Anglican cemetery like St. James in Carleton Place. According to Jewish law, a Jew should be buried among Jews. It is forbidden for a Jew to be buried in a mixed- denomination cemetery, or in a cemetery that allows the burial of questionably converted Jews. In St. James Cemetery there lies a grave belonging to those with Jewish heritage– the Rosenthals. The caretakers told me for years there was no official record of this grave, but it is now included on the list with all the other gravestone markers.

Should a situation arise where a non-observant parent or loved one acquired a plot in such a cemetery, a rabbi who specializes in this area of Jewish law would be consulted. Katherine was buried at St. James Cemetery, but was Edward laid to rest next to his wife Katherine? I would like to think their relationship had The Notebook ending but I don’t think it did.

A kosher grave is one in which the casket is laid directly in the ground, and covered with earth until it is full and a small mound is formed on top. The grave should be at least forty inches deep, and wide and long enough for the casket. Above-ground burial is strictly forbidden according to Jewish law, and Kabbalahadds that all alternative burial options interfere severely with the eternal rest of the soul. There is no mound at the Rosenthal’s grave.

Some Jewish communities bury their loved ones in family plots, or side-by-side in the case of a spouse. Other communities will bury men and women in separate sections. Both of these approaches are permissible. So the question remains– is Edward’s body there? Maybe the inscription was never done, or were children’s opinions involved after his death? Maybe his body is buried in some Jewish cemetery away from his wife?

Besides involving several transgressions, it is seen as following in the way of the gentiles.On all tombstones one adds the Hebrew letters תנצב”ה, which in acrostic form means “May his (her) soul be bound in the binding of life.” Others write on the heading פ”נ , which means “Here is buried.” None of that is on the small discreet Rosenthal marker at St James Cemetery.

Many people of Orthodox Judaic faith still rely on the services of professional mourners today. When a relative dies, strict Jewish laws require mourners to go to the temple every day to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish. Families employ a professional mourner, usually an elderly gentleman to cite the prayers for them. According to our local caretaker, no one comes to the grave of the Rosenthals, Of course it is very possible that Katherine never converted to Judaism– but why would your husband’s name be on the marker. My biggest question is– how could you not be buried next to your husband for eternity?  Because I do not know the answers to any of these questions, I have become their dedicated unofficial unprofessional mourner. To which I say:

Ha’makom yenahem etkhem betokh she’ar avelei Tziyonvi’Yerushalayim –which means “May God console you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem”.

Outside Looking in at The Eccentric Family of Henry Stafford — Our Haunted Heritage

The Funeral Train That Went Through Carleton Place — Our Haunted Heritage

Stairway to Heaven in a Cemetery? Our Haunted Heritage

Old Wives Tales of Death — Our Haunted Heritage

Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

Death by Corset? Bring Out Your Dead and Other Notions! Our Haunted Heritage

Things You Just Don’t say at a Funeral— Even if you Are a Professional Mourner

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

5 responses »

  1. Hi;
    I read with interest your posting on the “Non-Kosher Grave”. I am currently researching Jewish relatives of mine who came to the Village of Lanark in 1888 and stayed until 1932. William M. Cohen had a dry goods store on George Street. His brother who went by the name of Frank died in 1889 in the Village but his body was transported to Montreal for burial as Ottawa did not yet have a Jewish cemetery. If the Rosenthals were practising Jews, they would not be buried in St. James. Many of my Cohen relatives who lived throughout the OttawaValley intermarried or converted and are buried in church cemeteries. Perhaps this was the case with the Rosenthals.
    A an aside I am hoping to write a book about some of the personalities in my family tree including these Cohens who settled in Lanark Village. I live in Constance Bay and hope to drive out tihs spring to see if I can locate the actual store.

    Karen Shiller


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