After close to ten years of developing and investing in the area, the new Jewish cemetery of Moscow was inaugurated in the southern Vastrikovsky neighborhood, not far from the old Jewish cemetery that has already been filled to full capacity and in which each plot costs a small fortune.
The new cemetery was built by Moscow’s municipality, with care and sensitivity to the needs of the Jewish Community. President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia, Rabbi Alexander Boroda invested great efforts in this endeavor, while Chief Rabbi of Russia Rabbi Berel Lazar oversaw the halachic details of this project.
Upon completion of construction, there is infrastructure for five thousand graves with easy and dignified access to them.
The large edifice at the entrance to the cemetery includes special rooms for the Tahara process according to the halachic standards and customs of the Moscow Chevra Kadisha, as well as rooms for the mourners and attendees at the funeral processions. Everything was built with great care to enable full separation in the hall, and allow all ceremonies to be done in a most respectful and dignified manner.
On Thursday, the seventh of Adar – which is the birthday and yohrtzeit of Moshe Rabbeinu, the Chevra Kadisha of Moscow, along with the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar, gathered for an uplifting ceremony at the cemetery. Tehilim was recited, hakafos were done around the cemetery’s perimeter, and the shofar was blown as is the custom in Jewish communities that was passed down from generation to generation. Rabbi Yaakov Rozhe, a friend of the community, as well as the Rabbi of ZAKA and of the Tel Aviv-Yaffo Chevra Kadisha sent a letter with the precise instructions.
Later that day, the funeral of an elderly Jew from the Marina Roscha shul took place there. He had passed away the day before and merited a proper Jewish burial in the new cemetery, with a eulogy by Rabbi Lazar.
After the funeral, the attendees were invited to break their fast and say L’chaim. They all thanked Hashem for the great zchus of doing “chesed shel emes” and davened that very soon we will know of no more death, with the Geula that will come speedily in our days.
Photos by Levi Nazarov