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Hill Havurah at Congressional Cemetery

 

My God, the soul that You gave me is pure; You created it, You formed it, You breathed it into me, and You preserve it deep inside of me.  And someday you will take it from me, restoring it to everlasting life. (Daily Prayerbook)

 

Welcome to our page on Hill Havurah members who have chosen to be buried at Congressional Cemetery. Here you will find basic information about the Cemetery, why members have chosen to be buried there, and what you can do if you decide you would also like to explore this option. We do ask that you either be a member of Hill Havurah, or join our congregation to be part of this initiative.

 

What is the Congressional Cemetery?

 

Congressional Cemetery is a large, historic cemetery on Capitol Hill, located at 18th and E Streets, SE. It is an active Cemetery well known for its many activities. It is also non-denominational, and buries people of all faiths. You can learn more about the Cemetery on this linked Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page as well as the Cemetery’s website, https://congressionalcemetery.org

 

Why are Hill Havurah members buried at Congressional Cemetery?

 

Over the Havurah’s almost 25 years, a number of members have chosen to be buried at Congressional Cemetery. In 2022, a group of members came together with an interest in purchasing plots near each other in a section of the Cemetery. With Hill Havurah’s approval, the group then began collecting interested members to purchase plots. 

 

What do I do if I’m interested in purchasing plots at the Congressional Cemetery?

 

Nothing about this effort impacts whether or how Hill Havurah members may choose to be buried at Congressional Cemetery or elsewhere. However, if you are interested in a plot in the area where the group of members are purchasing near each other, you can refer to the map below showing the plots. 

 

It is our hope that members will initially purchase in the area where there are the most immediately contiguous plots.  As shown on the map below, that would begin with plots 169-174 in Range 99; plots 166-174 in Range 100; and plots 168-173 in Range 101.

 

Michael Allen has volunteered to help coordinate, and we suggest you initially reach out to him at mballendc@gmail.com or 202-281-9955. He can let you know where we are with plot selections, and will also discuss the potential for participating in plans to purchase a Geniza.

 

Once you know which plot(s) you would like to purchase, you should reach out to Margaret Canilang on the Cemetery staff at mcanilang@congressionalcemetery.org. You will then work directly with the Cemetery on the actual purchase of your plot.

 

If you have other questions, feel free to contact Howard Crystal at howard.m.crystal@gmail.com.  Howard is also happy to show you the area of the Cemetery where these plots are located (the Cemetery is also open to the public so you can visit anytime), so just let him know you would like to visit with him.

 
 

What else might Hill Havurah do at Congressional Cemetery?

 

In addition to purchasing plots near each other, a group of members is discussing potentially purchasing a Gniza – a place to bury sacred texts. This would be the purchase of an additional plot for this purpose, which the Havurah may put a headstone on at a future date. You can let Michael Allen know if you’d like to contribute to this effort, now or at a later date.  The cemetery also has memorial benches and we might also eventually purchase a bench. 

 

 

What happens when we run out of space in the specific area of the Cemetery where we are now purchasing plots?

 

The Congressional Cemetery has plenty of plots available, including in sections not far from the specific area where we are initially purchasing. Once this area is sold, we can ask the Cemetery to help us identify another area where members can similarly purchase plots near each other.

 

 

What are the costs associated with burial at Congressional Cemetery and what is included?

As shown on the first map below, in 2022 the plots in the area of the Cemetery we have in mind cost $7,750/plot.  You may choose to have 2 people buried in a single plot, one below the other, for the same plot cost.  There are other areas of the Cemetery where plots are more, and less, expensive.

Importantly, plot purchase only covers the plot itself. It does not include any costs associated with funerals or burial at the Cemetery, funeral home costs, or anything other than the plot itself. You will need to make actual funeral arrangements separately, and participation by the Hill Havurah and its Rabbi is based on separate Hill Havurah policies.  

 

What if I/we are interested in joining this effort but cannot afford a plot or to contribute toward a Genizah?

It is our intention that any member of the Havurah who wants to be part of this effort may join. The Cemetery permits purchase of a plot in installments during the same calendar year.  If you are interested in a plot, but could not afford to participate without assistance, please let Rabbi Hannahn know and we will ensure that you can join the group.

 

How does burial at Congressional Cemetery differ from a more traditional Jewish Cemetery?

 

You can find more information on this topic at our linked Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, but a traditional Jewish Cemetery is typically owned by a Jewish community or a Jewish group, and has some kind of barrier around it demarking it as a cemetery for Jews. Usually, there would be a rule that only Jews can be buried there, although sometimes there are interfaith areas out of the formal boundaries of a Jewish Cemetery. Such a cemetery also would not have other religious symbols or ceremonies, or food, fun, or other activities. 

 

But Congressional Cemetery does Jewish burials and works with Jewish funeral homes. It is non-denominational and while it is owned by Christ Church, it is separately administered on an entirely secular basis. People of many faiths are buried there, and   people may choose to be cremated.

 

Congressional Cemetery is also an active cemetery, with “K9” members – people who pay an annual fee to be able to let their dogs run free there. That said, it is often closed to dogs for funerals and other events, including from 9-3 every Saturday. It also hosts many other events. 
 
 
 

What area of the Cemetery are the plots located at?   

                                                              

 

 

 

 

 

Fri, March 1 2024 21 Adar I 5784