If a Jew, living in a small village, dies, is it allowed from religious point of view that he be buried in the local non-Jewish cemetery?


2 Answers 2


You should do all efforts to bury a Jew in a proper Jewish cemetery. Should a family quarrelling or similar occur, I have found a similar case of a Holocaust survivor from the Netherlands, who didn't want to be buried in a Jewish cemetery. Here it is written that Jews should not be buried in the graves of non-Jews (Rashi to Gittin 61a):

וקוברין מתי נכרים עם מתי ישראל מפני דרכי שלום - לא בקברי ישראל אלא מתעסקין בהם אם מצאום

If such should happen חו"ח, a separate grave should be created instead and it should be separated from the others, for example by leaving at least 8 amot distance from the graves of non-Jews (see Igrot Moshe to Yoreh Deah 160 - top right in this edition) or by creating an at least 10 tefachim high mechitzah (Tzitz Eliezer Even Yaakov*).

Since it's a very sensitive and complicated issue, you should definitely ask for a pesak halakhah of the local rabbi.

I would be happy if one could link the related part of Even Yaakov.


All efforts should be made to bury a Jew amongst Jews.

R Maurice Lamm writes here in his The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning

It is an ancient Jewish custom to purchase a gravesite during one's lifetime and to own it outright prior to burial. The Bible states explicitly that Abraham bought a grave for Sarah. Likewise, Joseph was buried in the family plot that his father Jacob had acquired in the city of Shechem. [...]

It must be located among other Jewish graves, or on grounds bought by a Jewish organization for use as a Jewish cemetery. This has been the custom through the centuries.

The following are criteria for determining whether a particular cemetery is a proper burial place for Jews:

  • The purchase contract should stipulate that the area of the plot is designed exclusively for Jews.

  • Burial rights must be permanent. The cemetery corporation should not be permitted to exercise any authority with regard to the removal of the remains from any grave.

  • All facilities for Jew and non-Jew must be absolutely separate—with separate entrance gates, and with each section fenced completely.

Similarly R Zalman Goldstein writes here in his The Jewish Mourner's Companion

According to Jewish law, a Jew should be buried among Jews. It is forbidden for a Jew to be buried in a mixed- denomination cemetery, or in a cemetery that allows the burial of questionably converted Jews.

Of course, should this become a real scenario, ask a rav and don't trust Internet strangers.

  • I do not see any basis given by Lamm for his criteria. Are you able to supply any more detail there?
    – SophArch
    Jul 17, 2020 at 17:20

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