kibbutz reshafim - english index page


Beyond the fence

the last road

The last road, just beyond the fence surrounding the kibbutz
the last road

The entrance to our cemetery, the last resting place of all the people who were irreplaceable
the remembrance wall

A wall of remembrance dedidated to those who perished in Europe
when it comes to our last parting

Not a bad spot to be buried in
you will see me grave enough

and - quoting Walter Raleigh, though his parting was probably nothing like what mine's going to be - when I come to a sad parting, you shall see me grave enough.
Cemetery-wise, the state of Israel has succeeded in making a complete mess of things. They gave the rights to bury people to religious institutions, the most obnoxious of which is the Hevra Kadisha. In theory they are bound to give a decent burial to everybody, in practice, if your Jewishness is in doubt, you get buried in some far-off corner beyond the fence.
The non-religious kibbutzim are among the few communities entitled to bury their dead the way they see fit. We use coffins (the religious do not and dump the dead into the grave in a way which at times makes the mourners cringe) and do not make distinctions on the grounds of religion, colour or nationality. "Beyond the fence" to us means just beyond the fence of the kibbutz - in the cemetery.

A propos coffins. They generally are more like the simplest of wooden boxes made of ply-wood. Once, after an especially arduous ride from the hospital a coffin was about to break apart and I was called in to screw it back together - with the corpse inside.
Proper coffins can cause quite a bit of embarrassment too. A relative of one of our members had been shipped to Israel and was to be buried in our cemetery. The burial was filmed for the mourning relatives abroad. It all went smoothly until the the coffin was being lowered into the grave, and, being a bit longer than the grave, got stuck half-way down. One of the chaps got into the grave and began to jump up and down on it. The episode is remembered with relish by quite a few of us.


April 2003

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