Approved by the Board on 8 August 2012
Interpretive Ruling #1: Interment Rights and Synagogue Membership
By-law: Operations By-laws, Section 7, states that:
All interment rights holders must be a member of a Member synagogue.
Question: Must the person be a member of the synagogue that has right-of-control of the cemetery section in which the interment rights are located?
The same Section 7 also includes the statement that : “Purchase of Interment Rights Burial in a lot under the control of a specific synagogue is only permitted if the person has been a member of the synagogue for at least one year prior to the year of purchase and remains a member of the synagogue.” The phrase “remains a member of the synagogue” reinforces this interpretation.
Question: Beit Tikvah (formerly Beth Shalom West in association with Beth Shalom) members include many who purchased lots and /or plots from Beth Shalom at a time when they were members of that synagogue. These Beit Tikvah members are no longer members of Beth Shalom or Beth Shalom West. Do these persons meet the criterion that they “must be a member of a Member synagogue”?
Interpretation: This interpretation is specific for Beit Tikvah members who had purchased a lot or plot from either Beth Shalom or Beth Shalom West prior to 2008. It is judged that such persons do have membership in a Member synagogue. The interpretation rests on the lineage of the synagogues; that is, from Beth Shalom to Beth Shalom West to Beit Tikvah. This would not apply to an individual who purchase interment rights in a synagogue outside this lineage and then moved to Beit Tikvah. With respect to someone who purchased interment rights as a Beit Tikvah member, there is no issue.