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    Synagogues or cemeteries? – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Which is more important for a new community to establish – a synagogue or a cemetery?

    A. Which is more important? Both.

    Let me quote myself. I have consecrated a number of synagogues in my time, and also a number of cemeteries. When it was a cemetery I was consecrating, I always congratulated the community and said it was a sign of life when a group needed a cemetery. It showed that they regarded themselves as so firmly established in a place that they expected to do there all the normal things that are part of life, including dying and being laid to rest in a location which relatives and friends would visit in time to come.

    There are many kinds of Jews, A Jews, B Jews, C Jews, D Jews and E Jews. The B Jew is concerned with burial as a Jew. We need A Jews too, alert to Jewish thinking, C Jews, committed to Jewish living, D Jews, dedicated to Jewish causes, E Jews, enlightened and educated about Judaism and the Jewish heritage.

    Worry about dying as a Jew, but don’t forget to live as a Jew too.

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