Cemetery and Funerals
The first need of the Victoria Jewish community in the 19th century was a cemetery. The Victoria Hebrew Benevolent Society (the first Jewish organization in Western Canada) purchased a burial site on Cedar Hill Road which at that time was on the edge of town. On Feb. 5, 1860, the cemetery was founded. That same cemetery still serves our community today.
Please refer to our Cemetery and Funerals brochure for an explanation of Jewish customs after a death.
Congregation Emanu-El has an active Chevra Kadisha, or Jewish burial society, to attend to burial needs and rituals. We also have a Jewish Cemetery and Funerals Committee of the Board, chaired (in 2017-18) by Dr. Richard Kool. If someone in your family is very ill or approaching death, we urge you to call the synagogue at (250) 382-0615 and inform the rabbi, so that we can put support mechanisms in place for you during your time of need.
Congregation Emanu-El encourages individuals and families to consider pre-arranging funerals. One reason is that when a person dies, the surviving loved ones are often thrown into a state of emotional upheaval. At a time of mourning, it is always easier for the survivors to cope with the loss if funeral plans have been made in advance. Well-considered decisions are often most easily made before a death, under less stressful circumstances. Decisions made in advance also ensure that burial is possible in Victoria's historic Jewish cemetery. Costs for burials are subject to change, yet locking in a pre-paid plan, or purchasing a plot directly from the Congregation, ensures that that cost will not go up in the future.
While we encourage individuals to consider advance funeral planning, we forthrightly acknowledge that such decisions are personal matters. For some people, it is distasteful to pre-arrange funerals, and their feelings must be respected. Other people feel pre-arranging funerals is a responsible action to take. Each individual must do what feels right for herself or himself.
Gravesite and Funeral Costs
The cost of the funeral is $10,500.00 for members and $13,500.00 for non-members. This includes confirmation that the next available site at the time of death will be given to you. It includes the entire funeral service, Chevra Kadisha supplies, the funeral home, hearse and all other relevant needs, as well as maintenance of the gravesite and cemetery in perpetuity. It also includes the rabbi’s services as well as all synagogue administrative services. It does not include transportation of the body beyond 40 kilometers, the head stone, or any special care required at the gravesite. The headstone unveiling ceremony, which occurs up to a year after the funeral, is also included. It is possible to make arrangements to purchase a pre-paid funeral through Sands Funeral Home.
Headstones can be ordered from either:
Congregation Emanu-El has a longstanding arrangement with:
Sands Funeral Home
1803 Quadra Street
Victoria, B.C. V8T 4B8
Please refer to our Cemetery and Funerals brochure for further information. You may feel free to contact Dr. Richard Kool, Jewish Cemetery Committee Chair, if you have questions.