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Consecrated Ground

Full article published in the Jewish Ledger Newspaper

Written by Arlene Hisiger
 
A cemetery might seem an unlikely place to encounter life. Yet life, in its abundant complexity, can surely be discerned by those who judiciously examine the stone-faced markers, those granite guardians of body and soul, which stand in perpetual watch over the interred.

The practiced eye will distinguish life patterns encoded in stone; spare etchings that hint at a life begun as solitary enterprise, subsequently defined by degree of familial and societal interaction and ultimately woven into the tapestry of time and history.

The Hebrew term for cemetery -- Beit Hachayim or House of Life, points to the principle that a cemetery represents more than cessation of life. Narrowly defined, the term is understood as euphemism; however, viewed more expansively, Beit Hachayim may be taken to mean an unequivocal negation of the commonly held belief that a cemetery is synonymous with absolute rupture of time. The name implies, rather, that here is where life, in its grander chronology, flourishes.



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