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Jewish Burial – To Vault or Not To Vault

Traditional Jewish law requires the burying of our loved ones in the ground so that they can naturally decompose into the earth.   

For as long as I can remember, most Jews in South Florida thought that local Jewish cemeteries’ burial options were authentic and traditional.

Unfortunately, it is not true – all but one of the local cemeteries is neither authentic nor do they follow Jewish law.   

Observant Jews believe that the Neshama’s (soul) returns to heaven when the body decomposes and enters the ground.  As such, there is nothing that should retard the deceased’s natural decomposition into the soil. 

All but one of the local Jewish cemeteries require the use of a burial vault which prevents natural decomposition into the soil

All but one local Jewish cemetery requires the purchase and use of a burial vault.  

A burial vault is a small underground room that is inserted into the ground prior to burial.  The burial vault is a physical barrier that prevents the deceased from returning to the earth. 

Depending upon the type of vault used, it can be centuries before the deceased is absorbed into the earth. 

Being placed in an underground crypt is no different than being placed in an above-ground mausoleum; neither are acceptable to Observant Jews. 

Cemeteries have fooled Jews into believing putting a coffin in a vault is the same thing as burial in the ground. 

They created the illusion of in-ground burial by having the family throw some dirt into the vault.  But, putting dirt into an underground crypt is not the same thing as in-ground burial. 

Aren’t vaults required by Florida law?


There is no legal or environmental reason to use a vault. 

As set forth on the Florida Division of Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services website, “Florida does not require the purchase of a vault.”

So why do Jewish Cemeteries require vaults?

Jewish cemeteries require vaults for three primary reasons and none of their justifications are because they are trying to do what is in the best interests of the deceased or their family.   

First, vaults allow the cemetery to drive heavy machinery (such as a backhoe) over graves without causing the graves to collapse. 

The below is from a vault manufacturer’s website explaining to cemeteries how their vault protects graves from collapse because of heavy machinery.  


Second, requiring the use of a vault allows the cemetery to sell another expensive item to families. 

While Florida law provides consumers the option of purchasing their own vault, this is an illusory right.  If the customer buys his/her own vault, the cemetery will charge a fee for installation.  Not surprisingly, the amount of the applicable fee is unregulated.  So, when a vault is required, there is no getting around paying. 


Third, vaults allow cemetery construction companies to layout an entire section and install the vaults en-mass during construction when the ground is already dug up. 

This saves money for the cemetery during the construction phase of a cemetery life cycle but still allows the cemetery owner to pass on costs to customers. 


The New South Florida Jewish Cemetery is the best alternative for South Florida Jews  

The South Florida Jewish Cemetery is a beautiful and relatively new burial alternative for South Florida Jews.


It does not require vaults and, in all ways, provides traditional Jewish burial.  The South Florida Jewish Cemetery doesn’t need to worry about driving heavy equipment across graves because it doesn’t use heavy equipment. 

Anyone Jewish (all denominations) or during life identified as a Jew can take advantage of the South Florida Jewish Cemetery. 

The South Florida Jewish Cemetery is much less expensive than the commercial alternatives (it is owned and run by a centuries-old not-for-profit dedicated to the Jewish community). 

And, the staff is caring and dedicated to always doing the right thing for families and the deceased. 

The South Florida Jewish Cemetery is the closest thing to being buried in Israel. 

Please feel free to call us at any time to arrange a visit to the South Florida Jewish Cemetery.  We provide special packages for purchasers of
gravesites at this South Florida community resource. 

Mark Sunshine

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(561) 295-8318