1. When should I purchase a monument?
Although there is no time frame for when a memorial is required, most families and cemeteries prefer to have a monument installed within the first year of death—just prior to the time of unveiling. Rather than viewing a monument simply as a grave marker, many have chosen to honor the life of their loved one through the purchase of a memorial from a monument dealer.
The process of cutting the stone and the procedure involved in polishing and engraving is one that is not accomplished in cookie-cutter fashion. The process is long and exacting. Your monument dealer will be the one who ultimately calculates the final date of completion. As an informed consumer, good planning on your part is important for coordinating the date an unveiling will take place so the monument dealer will have the proper amount of time to produce a quality stone. Take into consideration that the cement for the foundation of a monument cannot be poured in the winter months; that is why most monument installations occur in the late Spring, Summer and early Fall.
New technology and a greater demand for custom memorials allow the consumer a greater selection. One can now choose a memorial that reflects the unique life interests and achievements of loved ones through a variety of mediums, such as bronze or granite. Some choose monuments that are upright or flat. You can decide on single, double, family, or estate monuments (subject to the rules of the cemetery). These options are strictly a matter of personal preference and should not affect the quality or life of the memorial. Consult with your monument dealer as to the variety of styles and colors allowed to choose from.
Granite is the preferred material. There are varying qualities and colors of granite available that your monument dealer can discuss with you. Only first quality granite should be used on dye, base, and marker. According to the monument industry, a granite monument is rated according to the number of polished surfaces. A well-polished surface will protect the granite from the elements and properly engraved letters will be readable forever. Investigating the different grades of granite to meet your need is highly recommended before purchasing a monument. Bronze is another type of material used in the making of a flat marker. Many are made from die cut bronze with a granite base. Again, speak with your monument dealer for more options.
Hebrew lettering is not a requirement, although many people choose to have both English and Hebrew inscriptions on the monument. Inscriptions in Russian are allowed but must also have an English inscription on the stone. No inscription shall include anything offensive, inappropriate or contrary to the Jewish faith. Laser etched pictures are not allowed. Letters should be a minimum of 3/16” high. If one side of double monument is already inscribed, your monument dealer can assist you regarding how inscription is accomplished once a monument has been erected.
The first consideration when making the decision to install a monument is to understand that there are rules and regulations as to where the monument is to be placed. Some cemeteries have specific limitations and specific requirements that are particular to that cemetery. JCAM has strict rules and requirements as to the size and style of memorials. That is why it is so important for you to work with a reputable monument dealer that fully understands and adheres to these rules along with having the reputation for quality craftsmanship, using only the finest materials to create a memorial lasting for generations.
JCAM can provide you with the names of monument dealers that we do business with. By calling our office you can obtain a “Guide to Jewish Cemeteries” that lists the advertisements of some monument dealers in the Greater Boston area. You can also consult your local Yellow Pages. Whomever you decide to choose, please remind them to contact JCAM.
Yes. Qualified veterans are entitled to receive a government marker. Call the JCAM office for details and arrangements.
The monument dealer can provide you with all the costs involved including the foundation and permit fees.
An unveiling is not a requirement according to Jewish law but rather a custom to bring family members together to offer prayers on behalf of the deceased at which time the monument is “unveiled.” This can be done anytime after 30 days after interment. For your convenience, JCAM has unveiling prayer packets available should you need them. It is important to inform our office when planning an unveiling so we may notify the caretaker of the cemetery but, it is the monument dealer’s responsibility to “veil” the monument. You will also need to contact them in advance.
We can think of no better way to remember the life of a loved one than to memorialize them by choosing a monument that will honor their memory and unique individuality for generations to come.
We hope we have been able to answer some of your questions. Whenever and whatever you choose, please know we are here to assist you. For more information or to obtain the names of monument dealers, please feel free to contact us at 617-244-6509.