What to do if somebody dies

  • Please refer to our guide.

How does the scheme work?

As a member of one of our synagogues, your membership of the JJBS burial scheme is automatic. Your synagogue pays an annual, non-refundable fee to JJBS both to cover the actual cost of the funeral and the plot and to provide and maintain the cemeteries at Cheshunt.

If you live within the Home Counties area this provides you with the right either to a burial at Cheshunt or a cremation at Golders Green Crematorium. In the rest of the country, JJBS will provide a substantial contribution to the funeral costs.

These rights begin as soon as you join a member synagogue. If a member dies during the first 6 months of membership a charge for the cost of the funeral will be made. Please contact your synagogue or the JJBS Office for further details.

How are funerals arranged?

All funeral arrangements are the responsibility of each synagogue in conjunction with JJBS. You must notify the synagogue when a death occurs and then the rabbi, synagogue and JJBS will make all the arrangements.

What is covered by the scheme?

The basic cost of the funeral is covered by the Scheme, which covers the cost of undertakers, transportation, cremation fees, taharah, plain coffin and shroud, plot and cemetery costs.

What is not covered by the scheme?
The JJBS cover only allows for either the cost of a cremation or a funeral not both, and it does not cover any costs relating to the provision or placing of a tombstone.  When ashes are deposited in the Columbarium in the Woodland Cemetery, there will be a charge for interment of ashes plus the cost of any plaque. 
For a burial at the Woodland Cemetery please be aware there will be some additional charges incurred. Woodland burials take up additional space, plus trees have to be planted. However, a woodland burial does not require a costly full tombstone and there will be no future maintenance of a gravestone required. The family may also provide a small, low cost, memorial plaque.
What about stone-settings?

The setting of a tombstone and related costs are the responsibility of the family. All arrangements are made in conjunction with the synagogue, rabbi and JJBS office.

Stone settings on Sundays are very popular, so advance planning is recommended. Your Rabbi must approve the wording on the tombstone and can provide a list of licensed stonemasons.

Once the tombstone has been laid, it is the responsibility of the family to ensure that it is kept clean and in good order. JJBS does not cover maintenance, repair, vandalism or re-setting of tombstones.

For woodland burials, there can be a special memorial service at the graveside instead of the conventional stone setting service.

What if I join the scheme later in life?

Your entitlement to a funeral is included with your synagogue subscription. The annual fees paid by your synagogue to JJBS are the same regardless of your age when joining the synagogue. However, if you were 50 or over when you joined the synagogue, there is an additional contribution to be paid.

Are the benefits transferable?

If you move from one JJBS member synagogue to another without a break, your burial rights are transferred. The rights are not transferable to a non-JJBS synagogue.

What if I am a member of another burial scheme?

If you pay into another burial scheme, as well as being covered by the JJBS scheme, when you die, your other synagogue will arrange the funeral and will receive a sum from the JJBS which would normally be paid to your estate.

Can plots be reserved?

The family can reserve plots at the time of a burial in either the Western or the Woodland Cemeteries for other family members or a friend. There will be a charge for this. You cannot pick any spot in the cemetery, only a space next to a deceased relative or friend.

What if my partner is not Jewish?

Jewish members and their non-Jewish partners can be buried in single, double-depth graves in either the woodland or the lawn sections of the Woodland Cemetery.

Non-Jewish partners can become Burial Subscribers of participating synagogues and pay an annual fee towards their funeral costs; alternatively they can receive a non-member’s funeral at a discounted rate.

What are the arrangements for children?

There is no cost for the funerals of members’ children under the age of 21. After a child reaches 21, they must join a member synagogue in their own right to be covered for burial or cremation. There is a dedicated area in the Western part of the cemetery for burial following neo-natal deaths and there is a section of the Woodland Cemetery dedicated for children. For more detailed information please click here.

What about funerals for non-members?

JJBS will undertake the burial or cremation of a Jewish person who is not a member of the synagogue at a special charge. Burial can be in either the Woodland or Western Cemeteries.

Flowers and Wreaths

Flowers and wreaths are not customary at Jewish funerals. Family and friends may consider a donation to a suitable charity.


Guidance for relatives about the burial procedure and planting at the Woodland Cemetery can be found here.

How can I find out more about the scheme?

You can either contact your synagogue office or contact JJBS directly for more detailed information about the scheme, including a full list of additional charges.

How can I complain?