A presentation on Beit Olam East Cemetery at Congregation Or Atid in Wayland
By Ruthie Wittenberg
GateHouse News Service
WAYLAND — The Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts (JCAM), which oversees over 100 cemeteries in the Greater Boston area, has begun construction on its newest project, Beit Olam East, 48 Concord Road in Wayland,. Beit Olam East was planned and developed after another 3-acre cemetery founded in 1999, containing 1,800 sites and expected to last 30 years, sold out in an unexpectedly short period of time. This was the only interfaith cemetery serving the MetroWest community, and Beit Olam East will be interfaith as well.
The 10 acres comprising Beit Olam East were purchased by JCAM in 2007. Since November, 1,500 sites have been sold, with 7,200 sites constituting the total capacity.
The name Beit Olam East means "House of Forever" in Hebrew, and according to Stan Kaplan, executive director of JCAM, this cemetery will serve a need for the "maturation of the community that has taken place. MetroWest has become home for many Jewish families who need a place to rest."
Beit Olam East Cemetery will be both a Reform and a Conservative cemetery and is affiliated with 24 synagogues. The cemetery is divided by a distinct pathway, separating the Reform and Conservative sections, deemed acceptable by the rabbis of the 24 synagogues.
Appearing in both sections are smaller pathways marking the outlines of the Star of David. The cemetery is designed as a beautiful park and retains its historic usage as "an open space for eternity."
Kaplan admitted the permit process in Wayland was "long, difficult and arduous, but not anyone’s fault. There were conflicting interests that needed to be satisfied."
In order to protect sensitive conservation land, an agreement has been reached to allow funeral processions to travel on Concord Road and to direct service trucks by Holiday Road. Kaplan said the compromise was "a classic case of conflict resolution."
Construction of Beit Olam East Cemetery began in March and is expected to conclude this November. For many people, Kaplan says, "Buying sites now instead of waiting until November brings a sense of closure." These people will possess a certificate of temporary ownership.
Many who have already purchased sites at Beit Olam East attended a progress report on May 23 at Congregation Or Atid in Wayland given by JCAM’s Board of Directors.
For inquiries about Beit Olam East call the JCAM office at 617-244-6509.