1) Contact a Monument maker (see “Companies” below).
Note that the design and the manufacture of the Monument can take approximately six (6) weeks. This time requirement should be recognized when setting the Unveiling date.
2) In consultation with the Monument maker, design the Monument.
a) Once a design has been arrived at, the Monument maker will submit the design and the sizing to JMG for approval.
b) The requested inscription will be sent by JMG to the synagogue having control rights in the cemetery section within which the grave is located for review by their rabbinic authority. Approval is required before the work can proceed. The JMG review is for conformity with the Guidelines for Installation of a Monument (see below). Text accuracy is the responsibility of the synagogue and rabbinic authority.
3) Once the Monument is approved by the synagogue and its rabbinic authority, JMG will be notified. The Monument maker requires JMG authorization in order to proceed.
4) A foundation will have to be ordered for installation (see “Companies” below).
5) JMG will prepare the ground to receive the foundation.
6) Set the Unveiling date.
The Unveiling can be as private or as public as the family wishes. A Rabbi is not required, as there is no specific Jewish ceremony involved. JMG does not provide veiling materials. Once the Unveiling date has been set, notify JMG so that there are no scheduling conflicts.
7) For an Unveiling please note that, if the Unveiling is taking place in our Osgoode cemetery, the main gates are closed during the times when there is no funeral but there is a side gate that allows full walk-in access.
There are at least four costs associated with the preparation of a grave head Marker (the Monument and its foundation). These costs are borne by the advance provisions of the deceased or by the family or other representatives of the deceased.
1) Purchase of a Monument. (To be arranged between the purchaser and the contractor.)
2) Purchase of a foundation. (To be arranged between the purchaser and the contractor.)
3) Care and Maintenance Fee. (this is required by the Ontario Government/Cemetery Act, Revised) See JMG Price List for costs – http://www.jewishmemorialgardens.org/price-list/
4) JMG Processing Fee.
After Burial; Before Monument Installation:
All burials are marked by at least a temporary Marker. Prior to the installation of a Monument, JMG will mark the grave location. This is done to enable visitation to the grave once Sheloshim (’30 days’) is over. It is customary for family to visit at that time to temporarily mark the gravesite in the period prior to the installation of a family provided Monument (‘headstone’). The installation of a Monument is normally done within one year and usually before the High Holidays.
Immediately after burial has been completed, JMG staff will make sure that extra earth is mounded on top of the grave. This is to help minimize the eventual caving-in that occurs in all gravesites. Several factors contribute to this caving-in, such as: the compaction of the earth after interment (due to weather, erosion, etc.), the use of a Kosher casket (designed to break down more quickly than ‘regular’ caskets), and especially the lack of the use of vaults.
At the appropriate time, grass seed will be applied. Several applications are typically required in order to achieve the desired groundcover. Due to the challenges of our Ottawa weather and legislation which prevents the use of herbicides (‘weed killers’), it may take more than two seasons for the grass on a new gravesite to look as it should.
Guidelines for Installation of a Monument:
The following guidelines apply to installation of grave Markers (Monuments/headstones):
(The companies named below are fully aware of these requirements.)
a) No Monument may be higher than 44” (base + foundation)
The base means a rough or smooth edge structure of granite or marble with a smooth top and bottom which is placed on a prepared foundation. The Monument is secured to the base. Other names for the Monument itself are the die and, sometimes, the plinth.
b) For single gravesites: Monument bases must be 36” x 14”.
c) For double gravesites: Monument bases may be a maximum of 68” x 16”.
d) Minimum thickness for Monuments = 8”
e) Minimum thickness for bases = 6”
f) Only one Monument is allowed to a lot (a single grave site).
g) Flat Markers and/or footstones are not allowed except in cases where it is to match an existing one for a spouse or within a family plot (more than one contiguous lot).
h) All Monuments/Markers must be constructed of natural stone or bronze.
i) No benches or other installations are allowed on gravesites, including unauthorized flowers/shrubs. Unauthorized installations and/or plantings will be removed by cemetery management at the cost of the interment rights holder.
j) Care and Maintenance fees must be paid to JMG before a Marker may be installed, in accordance with the Cemetery Act.
k) Approval for the size/design and installation of all Monuments must be obtained, in writing, directly from JMG. Companies must submit to JMG a formal request for a Monument and for a foundation and may not proceed with their work except as authorized by JMG.
l) No Marker may be installed on a grave unless its design and wording have been approved by the rabbinic authority for the synagogue having control rights in the cemetery section within which the grave is located.
m) No photograph, image, insignia or emblem may be engraved on a Monument or affixed thereto, with the exception of a Magen David, candelabra, or the insignia of a Kohen.
There are other acceptable emblems – for example some Holocaust survivors have a broken Magen David and some military members have symbols of their military affiliation.
n) Responsibility for the care and maintenance of Monuments / foundations is expressly limited by the terms and conditions of the current legislation. Monuments/Markers are deemed to be the property of the next of kin of the deceased. Accordingly, damage due to vandalism, repairs to the Monument will be the responsibility of the next of kin.
o) No person, other than cemetery staff, shall perform any work on cemetery grounds without prior permission from the executive director of the cemetery. Work here means any labour performed, including planting of flowers or trees, gardening, construction, grave opening, or any kind of maintenance. If such permission is granted, it will be with the express recognition that the party performing such work acknowledges that they shall be responsible for taking precautions to protect the grass surface, Monuments, trees, flowers or any structures that may be subject to damage by heavy equipment and materials used during such work. They shall avoid walking directly on graves and committing any other acts which may be deemed offensive. No work shall be done on Shabbat or Jewish Holidays and all work must be performed during regular cemetery hours, unless special permission is granted by management.
p) The cemetery has the right to prune or remove any shrubs, trees or other decorations that do not comply due to type, condition, shape or for safety reasons at the sole discretion of management.
q) The cemetery has the right to remove any Markers found to be in contravention of the Cemetery By-Laws.
r) Arrears – No Markers/Monuments may be installed on a lot until all arrears connected with that lot have been paid in full.
s) Animals are not permitted on cemetery grounds.
At present, JMG recommends the following accredited Monument companies. They are familiar with JMG By-Laws and have been serving our community for years:
- Grace Monuments (613-836-5000)
- George Brown & Sons (613-235-8969)
- Laurin Monuments (613-789-0417)
- Martel & Sons Inc. (613-744-1080)
- Yolkowski Monuments (613-740-1339)
Flowers: Arrangements for the planting of flowers at a gravesite may be made through our office at 613-688-3530, ext. 3 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Prices are listed on the JMG Price List – http://www.jewishmemorialgardens.org/price-list/. Please note that flowers are not normally planted on a gravesite which does not yet have a Monument installed.
Background Information: based on Jewish Funeral Guide –
It is an ancient Jewish custom to erect a Matzeivah /a Monument/a gravestone in memory and in honor of the deceased, as we find in the Book of Genesis 35:20: “And Jacob placed a Monument upon her grave: that is the Monument of Rachel’s grave unto this very day. The Monument is also called Tziyun (a Marker – Kings II 23:17) or Neshama (a soul), referring to the fact that the neshama of the deceased remains constantly hovering over the grave, which we mark to give the soul a defined place to dwell.
Customs: The Monument is made from marble or granite and is usually placed at the head of the grave, but often covers the whole grave. For some, it is better to erect a modest Monument in order not to embarrass those who cannot afford an ornate headstone. The soul of the deceased would be more pleased if the mourners would donate money to charity, instead of building extravagant and expensive Monuments. However, one should ignore any prior request of a deceased parent to not erect any Monument at all. In this case a small Monument should be placed on the grave. Small plaques that are set flush with the ground are not recommended, though, because it is hard to see the grave boundaries they mark and people will end up stepping on a grave.
Monument inscriptions: Ashkenazim engrave the Jewish name of the deceased and his or her father’s name on the gravestone, but the prevalent custom among Sephardim is to write the Jewish name of the deceased and his or her mother’s name instead. Some only write the Jewish name of the deceased and the family name. The date of passing that is engraved on the Monument should be the Jewish calendar date, not the civil calendar date. Any additional inscriptions of praise for the deceased may follow in Hebrew or in the vernacular, but one should not write excessive praises on the Monument.
Typically the inscription starts with the Hebrew acronym פ”נ, which stands for “Here is buried / פה נקבר, פה נטמן”, and to end it with another acronym תנצבה, which stands for “May his/her soul be bound in the bundle of life / תהיה נפשו/נפשה צרורה בצרור החיים”. This phrase is based on the verse in the Book of Samuel I 25:29“May my master’s soul be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord your God / והיתה נפש אדני צרורה בצרור החיים את ה’ אלהיך”.
Certain stylized Jewish symbols, such as the Menorah or a Magen David are frequently engraved on a Monument. For a Kohen, it is customary to engrave the hands spread in the priestly blessing. Engraving the form of a human being or placing any pictures on the Monument is not considered appropriate.