With burial generally being the only practice in Judaism, creating a monument (or matzeivah) for the departed is an important part of both the memorial and mourning process. With this is in mind, it is important to find a skilled monumental mason who is familiar with Jewish gravestone practices and customs.
This guide will offer some advice in some important areas relating to design, inscriptions, traditions, and pricing.
Rookwood Cemetery The largest Jewish cemetery in Sydney, sections cater for all memorials including lawn and full monuments.
Macquarie Park Cemetery Located in North Ryde, the cemetery is well managed and very accessible for commuters.
Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park Based in Matraville, the relatively small cemetery has a number of Jewish sections.
Gravestone design will depend a lot on the particular section of the deceased. For example, if the deceased is buried in a Jewish lawn section, not much customisation can be done. Other Jewish sections that allow for larger monuments will give you much more freedom in terms of design and style.
If you need to create a memorial but are not too sure about design:
Jewish headstone inscriptions have a unique set of customs that combine hebrew, english, and symbols. A lot of inscriptions will start with the Hebrew acronym פ”נ, which stands for “Here is buried – פה נקבר, פה נטמן”, and to end it with another acronym ת-נ-צ-ב-ה, which means “May his/her soul be bound in the bundle of life / תהיה נפשו/נפשה צרורה בצרור החיים”. This phrase is based on the verse in the Book of Samuel I 25:29″ May my master’s soul be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord your God / והיתה נפש אדני צרורה בצרור החיים את ה’ אלהיך”.
If you want to find out about the engraving process and what options are available, take a look at our gravestone inscriptions page.
For more about hebrew and symbols on Jewish tombstones, see this external guide. Alternatively, you can talk with one of our stonemasons who know a great deal about the topic.
As a token of respect, gravesite visitors will leave some sort of marker (Whether it be a rock or some object). Always make sure you are careful when placing an object, so as not to damage the monument.
After ‘Shloshim’ (30 days of mourning) Jewish states that a tombstone can be built. After that, there are are no specific rules about the timing of a memorial although generally it’s within one year. Most families prefer to hold a consecration for the monument a year after passing.
It’s very hard to give an exact price for a monument because it will depend on a number of things including the cemetery, section, monument size, etc. The price of a tombstone will usually fall between $2,000- $20,000. If you’re interested in getting some rough figures, our headstone prices section provides a breakdown on what you can expect to pay.