June 6, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Geniza Project for Shaimos: This Sunday At Americus Cemetery in Saddle Brook

The Cemetery Association of North Jersey was formed in the late 1950s, with its primary function the maintenance of old Jewish cemeteries. Currently the association owns, operates and maintains 18 old Jewish cemeteries in Bergen and Passaic Counties.

The association has a 12-member board, with Mickey Levine serving as executive vice president. Levine is responsible for the day-to-day affairs of the and works closely with their grounds maintenance company to ensure that everything runs smoothly. He also manages communication with next of kin for the burials and graves, or with the general public.

Levine, explaining about the planned geniza (burial of holy items like books) reports that they plan to open two graves. However, unlike the usual dimensions of two typical graves, they will be digging down 16 feet rather than the normal 8 feet, in order to accommodate more material.

The geniza is scheduled for Sunday, June 9, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Americus Cemetery on Midland Avenue in Saddle Brook, New Jersey.

The geniza project is sponsored by the Cemetery Association of Northern New Jersey, and this will be the third year in their continuing service to the community for this purpose. The project is also a joint effort with the Community Alliance for Jewish Cemeteries.

Levine noted that if schools, school staff, faculty or families of students need to bury books, to please let the Cemetery Association know ahead of time. Contact information can be found at the end of this article.

Donations are used to defray the costs of opening and closing the geniza site.

Following is information for preparing shaimos for geniza at this event:

All books need to be placed in paper bags and brought on the day of the geniza only.

Nothing can be dropped off ahead of time as there is no capacity for storage.

Boxes will not be accepted.

You can pre-package shaimos into your own bags or purchase bags at the cemetery for $1 per bag. Material brought in boxes will need to be transferred to bags. Empty boxes, milk crates or containers must be taken back with you.

There is a suggested donation of $18 for up to four bags, or $36 for up to six bags.

Anything over 10 bags, please contact Mickey Levine directly by June 7, to discuss the donation amount.

Donations can be made via cash or credit card.

To contact Levine, please reach out by phone at 917-699-6057 or at [email protected] by Thursday, June 7.

With fewer than 10 bags of shaimos, you can just come between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to drop off the shaimos and make a donation. No call required.

Please consult your rabbi to decide what qualifies as shaimos, in order to avoid using geniza space unnecessarily.

There will also be a rabbi on site during the geniza project.

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