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Plots in Har Hamenuchos

Har HaMenuchot , also known as Givat Shaul Cemetery) is the largest cemetery in Jerusalem, Israel. The hilltop burial ground lies at the western edge of the city adjacent to the neighborhood of Givat Shaul, with commanding views of Mevaseret Zion to the north, Motza to the west, and Har Nof to the south. Opened in 1951, it has continually expanded into new sections on the northern and western slopes of the hill. As of 2008, the cemetery encompasses 580 acres in which over 150,000 people are buried.

Until 1948, Jewish burials in Jerusalem were conducted in the centuries-old Jewish cemetery on Har Hazeitim (Mount of Olives). In 1948, the Arab siege of Jerusalem cut off access to the Mount of Olives, and this remained the status quo after the 1949 Armistice Agreements. In 1948 several temporary cemeteries opened to handle wartime deaths in Jerusalem, including the Sanhedria cemetery, Sheikh Badr Cemetery, and the Shaare Zedek Cemetery (on the grounds of the old Shaare Zedek Hospital on Jaffa Road). After the establishment of the state, however, these were deemed inadequate for the needs of a growing city, leading to the opening of Har Hamenuchot on the outskirts of Jerusalem in 1951.

The graves on Har HaMenuchot are divided into sections operated by various burial societies. The Kehillat Yerushalayim burial society was allotted more than 50% of the land when the cemetery opened. Other sections were apportioned to burial societies serving the Ashkenazim (also known as Perushim), Sephardim, and Hasidic communities of Jerusalem. In the late 1990s other chevrei kadisha opened, serving the Kurdish, Georgian, Yemenite, and Bukharan Jewish communities. Both the Kehillat Yerushalayim and the Sephardi burial societies maintain an on-site funeral parlor.

As the official municipal burial ground, Har HaMenuchot accommodates free burials for Israeli citizens and tourists who die while in Israel; the cost of the plot and funeral services is paid for by Bituah Leumi, the National Insurance Institute. However, the choice of plot is left to the burial society, and if a spouse wishes to be buried in the adjacent plot, he or she must pay for the second plot. According to the law, the burial society must reserve the plots on both sides of a newly-dug grave for 90 days in order to give the spouse and relatives of the deceased the option to purchase them. According to the Kehillat Yerushalayim burial society, 90 percent of the burials at Har HaMenuchot involve couples. Stone monuments must be paid for by the family of the deceased.

Plots in Har hamenuchot have become very expensive due to to shortage of space, and are currently selling for around $28,000.

When purchasing a plot in Har Hamenuchot, you must ensure that you are purchasing a plot in what is known as a “field burial” as opposed to a concrete structure of many levels filled with soil or plots in burial walls.

Dovid Kentridge-Director

Dovid has been working the the field of Jewish Burial Plots for the past 24 years. He served as director of the largest Jewish cemetery in Johannesburg, South Africa, Westpark Cemetery for 8 years.