US Burial News

Will Quince MP visits Bushey Cemeteries with Melvyn Hartog

Will Quince MP visited Bushey Old and New Cemeteries to learn more about Jewish burial practice and customs. Melvyn Hartog, Head of Burial for the United Synagogue had invited the Minister to the cemetery and showed him round.

Mr Quince is the Minister at the Department for Work and Pensions where part of his remit is to understand the funeral process of different religions. The event was planned by the United Synagogue Burial Society following a round table meeting with other members of the funeral services.

Mr Hartog explained to Mr Quince how Jewish burial operates differently from most religions in that United Synagogue members choose to join a funeral expenses scheme which covers all of the costs of burial at the time of death. For members of other faiths, burial expenses are incurred when a loved one passes away and this sudden expense can cause significant financial hardship.

They discussed what the government can do to further help families in poverty particularly at the vulnerable time of a bereavement.

Mr Quince visited the mortuary where the tahara process (ritual washing) was outlined to him. This is carried about by volunteers, to prepare the deceased for burial as well as the funeral service.  He was then taken to the prayer halls.

Mr Quince was shown the grave of the six Kedoshim, Holocaust victims, buried at the cemetery in January.

Melvyn Hartog, Head of Burial for the United Synagogue, said: “It was a pleasure to meet with Will Quince MP and give him a good understanding of Jewish burial customs. The Department for Work and Pensions told us they found the visit extremely informative and a great eye-opener as to how the Jewish community deals with the process of burial.”

 Will Quince MP said: “It was a humbling experience to visit the United Synagogue Jewish cemetery in Hertfordshire with Melvyn Hartog who I met at a recent funerals round table I organised. It's so important, as the Minister at the Department for Work and Pensions responsible for thia area, to better understand funerals from the perspective of different religions.”