On Sunday, April 26 close to 100 people ages 5 to 75 came to witness the rededication of JCAM’s new Genizah & Education Center, located at the Sons of Abraham Chapel on the Baker Street Cemeteries. The Genizah houses sacred materials containing the Hebrew name of G-d that are brought to the chapel throughout the year from the Greater Boston Jewish community prior to burial.
The rededication was due to the efforts of the Brandeis Design Lab Teen Fellowship (funded by CJP and URJ) who redesigned, repurposed and renovated the unused chapel. JCAM was so proud to have been chosen as the recipient of this enormous community endeavor.
The chapel, overflowing with guests witnessed the hanging of a mezuzah, once relegated for burial but rescued by a JCAM staff member just in time for the event.
Guests listened to the Design Lab teens speak of their experience and the learning process involved in the redesign and renovation of the cemetery chapel. JCAM’s Executive Director, Stan Kaplan gave accolades to the Design Lab teens and leaders for their hard work, calling the rededication “a transformative event.” Lisa Berenson, Director of Educational Programming, one of the JCAM staff members who was involved in the collaboration with Brandeis Design Lab from the start, talked about the impact the new Education Center will have on her cemetery tour participants when she explains that sacred books also receive a special burial. JCAM’s Cantor Alan Kritz, Assistant Director of Field Services, who was instrumental in the collaboration led a meaningful ceremony highlighting the impact the Design Lab has made to future generations furthering the education of the community regarding Jewish cemeteries and burial customs. An appreciation plaque was presented to the teens and is now a permanent fixture in the chapel.
Guest were then invited to write on a chalk board mural to finish the sentence, “In my life I want to…..” Many guests, some with tears in their eyes, expressed their appreciation to JCAM and the teens for the transformation of the chapel that serves the Jewish community. Deep connections were made as a result of this effort on the part of the Design Lab’ers and JCAM.
If you are interested in dropping off unused or worn out Hebrew books, tallisim, teffilin or anything containing the Hebrew name of G-d, please call the JCAM office at 617-244-6509 to schedule an appointment. To learn more about JCAM’s educational programs, please visit the Foundation page on this website to learn how you can schedule a cemetery education tour for your community or call Lisa Berenson at the JCAM office.
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