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Beit Am's Chevra Kadisha (Burial Society)

Beit Am's Chevra Kadisha (Burial Society) exists to help with the rituals and traditions of Jewish burial, including supporting the family through the process. 

Please contact our or 541-753-0067 so that we can connect you with our Chevra Kadisha, and have someone contact you to help with filling out the funeral arrangements form. Please note that a fee of $20 is requested at the time of sending in this form to help cover our costs.

If you want to have a plaque installed on Beit Am's Yahrzeit Board please fill out the attachment at the bottom of this page for the Yahrzeit plaque order form. If you have questions in filling out the form, please feel free to contact us.

Please consider donating to Beit Am’s Chevra Kadisha Fund online, or by sending a check to Beit Am Jewish Community, 4318 NW Circle Blvd., Corvallis OR 97330. Be sure to include a note that the donation is for the Chevra Kadisha fund!

Your donations to this fund will help with landscape care of the Waverly Jewish Cemetery (a.k.a. Albany Hebrew Cemetery). The burial society is grateful to have received generous grants for restoration of historic markers in 2016 and 2017 through the Oregon Historic Cemeteries grant program.

Albany Hebrew Cemetery is listed on National Historic Register - The Waverly Jewish Cemetery, historically known as Albany Hebrew Cemetery, has its own website with more information about the cemetery at

The Traditional Jewish Funeral

In accordance with guidelines established by the Rabbinical Assembly Commission on Law and Standards, the traditional funeral honors the deceased (met) with a simple, dignified burial. Our Burial Society follows these traditional burial procedures:

  1. A shomer, (guard or watcher), stays with the met from death to burial.
  2. The met is prepared for burial through the process of washing and purification (tohorah) by members of the Chevra Kadisha.
  3. The Chevra Kadisha dresses the met in the burial shrouds (takhrikhim).
  4. The burial Society provides, at cost, a plain wood coffin (aron).
  5. The Burial Society assists in graveside services and can arrange for a Rabbi.
  6. A Meal of Consolation is prepared for the mourners.

Traditional funerals also include:

  • Burial as soon after death as possible, preferably within 24 hours or within three days to allow family to gather. If the funeral is more than 24 hours after death, the met is maintained under refrigeration, but not embalmed.
  • Instead of flowers, it is traditional to give charity (tsedakah) in memory of the met.
  • Mourners put earth over the coffin after it is lowered into the grave. The grave is filled with earth, preferably before the mourners leave the cemetery.

    A traditional funeral does not include any of the following:

  • embalming
  • viewing of the met
  • cremation
  • flowers

    What will Beit Am’s Chevra Kadisha do to help the Grieving Family

    It is important to understand that each individual family has the option of using all or part of the services offered Beit Am’s Chevra Kadisha. We are ready to offer advice, comfort and services as needed. Prearrangements can be made during a person's lifetime by filling out the funeral arrangements form.

    Beit Am’s Chevra Kadisha will help make all arrangements so that when a death occurs, the process described will be carried out according to the wishes of the individual. We will assist the family in making funeral arrangements and in purchasing a plot in the Waverly Jewish Cemetery, if that is desired, and will do any or all of the following as requested by the family of the met/metah:

    1. Provide for guarding (shemirah) the met between death and the funeral.
    2. Perform the ritual washing and purification (tohorah).
    3. Secure burial shrouds (takhrikhim).
    4. Secure a simple wood coffin (aron).
    5. Help the family make arrangements for a graveside service including a minyan. A memorial service after the burial can be arranged at Beit Am or elsewhere, if desired.
    6. Arrange for a meal of consolation following the funeral.
    7. Arrange for a minyan for Kaddish during the traditional seven days of mourning (shiv'ah).
    8. Provide a shiv'ah candle.

    Direct cost of items provided will be billed to the family. We will provide a schedule of the costs. Donations to Beit Am's Chevra Kadisha Fund are much appreciated and are crucial to helping maintain and beautify the landscaping of local Jewish cemeteries, and to cover the costs of indigent burials.

    Willamette Valley Jewish Community Burial Society and Waverly Jewish Cemetery

    The Willamette Valley Jewish Community Burial Society, a 501(c)3 organization that coordinates with Beit Am's Chevra Kadisha, is an incorporated body with chapters in Salem and Corvallis. A Jewish cemetery was established in Albany in the 1870's, and in the 1920's turned over to the Masonic Lodge in Albany. An agreement with this Masonic Lodge confers exclusive responsibility for the Jewish section of the Waverly Cemetery, including sale of the burial plots, to the Willamette Valley Jewish Community Burial Society.

    The Masonic Lodge retains ownership of the cemetery, and the trust it has established will provide perpetual care.

    The Jewish section of the Waverly Cemetery is divided into two sections. One section is for Jews as defined according to Jewish Law (Halakhah). The other is for Jews by patrilineal descent and families who wish burial with non-Jewish spouses. No ashes will be interred in the halakhic section.

    Waverly Jewish Cemetery Arrangements

    The Cemetery used by the Willamette Valley Jewish Burial Society is the Waverly Jewish Cemetery in Albany. It is owned by the St. Johns Lodge, A.F. and A.M. The governance of the use of the Jewish Cemetery is done by their Cemetery Board in conjunction with the Willamette Valley Jewish Community Burial Society which has two chapters, one in Corvallis, the other in Salem.

    The current cost of a burial plot is $1000. Checks are made out to Masonic Cemetery Association.

    The assignment of plots for the Jewish portion of the cemetery is done through the Willamette Valley Jewish Community Burial Society. You can contact the burial society through the Beit Am office.

    There are two sections in the Jewish portion of the Waverly Jewish Cemetery. A small Orthodox or halachic section, and a larger liberal Jewish section. Only Jews as defined halachicly may be buried in the Orthodox section. In the non-halachic section, non-Jewish spouses or children, for instance, can be buried.

    The Masonic Cemetery Association has asked that Memorial markers be flush with the ground. This both decreases vandalism and makes the maintenance of the cemetery much easier and less costly. The Burial Society is in full agreement with this requirement.

    Since a Jewish burial is supposed to have nothing hindering the body from returning to the earth (in Israel no coffins are used at all), the Cemetery Association has agreed that all Jewish burials may have the bottom left off the cement liner of the grave. The cement liner is to keep the cemetery surface from collapsing. The Burial Society has decided that all the burials in both Jewish sections of the Waverly Jewish Cemetery will have the bottom of the liner left off.

    In the Halachic section, there is a further restriction. The coffin must be halachically correct (no metal, all wood).

    Download a Printable Yahrzeit Plaque Form

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