Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A horrible mistake

My dear aunt, who died recently, was buried in the wrong grave. She owned four plots. My uncle, her husband, was in one of them, and she was supposed to be buried next to him, or jointly with him, so to speak, under the same tombstone. Instead, she was buried in one of the two other plots.

The whole thing gives me the creeps. It's almost funny, but it was horrible for her immediate family. They had an argument with the synagogue, which owns the cemetery, and did not want to move her because it would cost money--a backhoe would be needed, etc.

None of our family belongs to this synagogue any more, because they have taken a turn toward excessive piety, building a wall between the men and the women, among other things. Everyone in the family had joined other synagogues or left town, but my aunt kept up her membership, although she never went there, because she wanted to be buried next to her husband.

It reminds me of the old joke: three Jews are marooned on a desert island. When rescuers happen to discover them, they have built four synagogues. Why four synagogues? Well, the first was the one Abe belonged to; the second was the one Ben belonged to, and the third was the one Chaim attended. But what about the fourth? Well, that was the one nobody belonged to.

So for thirty years my aunt paid dues to the synagogue nobody belonged to, just so she could be buried next to her husband. And they blew it!

After much heart-rending, shrieking, and agony, she was moved. Her daughter felt that this had to be done so she would be at peace. Maybe she is.

As for me, I think that if I were recently deceased I wouldn't be worried about my burial place. Either I would have moved on to other things, or I would be angry and indignant at being forced to leave this world, where there is so much to love and enjoy.


CGHill said...

The way I heard that joke, it was one shipwrecked Jew who built two synagogues, the second being the one he doesn't go to.

Which I guess I remember because I now live in a place which has, yes, two synagogues.

miriam sawyer said...

CG: You're probably right--I never remember jokes properly. So I wing it.