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When a Death Occurs

You are not alone. The Adath Israel community is here for you. When a loved one dies, you may feel sorrow, grief and confusion. You may wonder what to do next.

Planning a Funeral

Arrange the time and place for the funeral with the funeral home and Rabbi.  Our tradition stresses having the funeral as soon as possible after the death occurs; however, there are times when a delay is proper.  The service can be held at graveside, in the funeral home, or in the synagogue for a member.

Prior to the funeral, family members will meet with the Rabbi to learn about your loved one and to answer any questions that you may have.

The Jewish tradition stresses the importance of the shared humanity of all Jews.  The funeral home will ensure that your loved one is treated with respect and that all burial preparations are done according to Jewish tradition.  Families are strongly encouraged to select a plain pine box as a casket.

Funeral Home

Your first call should be to the Jewish funeral home of your choice.
Benjamin Park Memorial
2401 Steeles Avenue West
Toronto, Ontario
M3J 2P1

Steeles Memorial Chapel
350 Steeles Avenue West
Toronto, Ontario
L4J 1A1

Hebrew Basic Burial
3429 Bathurst Street
Toronto, Ontario
M6A 2C3


The funeral home will speak with you to determine where your loved one will be buried and will also be in touch with our office. Note that as we emerge from COVID-19, each cemetery will be updating its protocols regularly for the health and safety of all family members and visitors.

    Bathurst Lawn Memorial Park
    Pardes Shalom: Toronto Hebrew Memorial Parks
    Roselawn Cemetery (Contact the office)

Contact Our Clergy

Our clergy remain unwavering in their commitment to serve you as your spiritual leaders, and will be able to guide you in times of need when you lose a loved one. Please contact one of our Spiritual Leaders immediately.

    Rabbi Adam Cutler at 416.635.5343
    Rabbi David Seed at 416.635.5341

Cemetery Plot Information

Many of our members have pre-purchased the rights to a plot in advance of a spousal passing. However, if you not reserved your plot(s), it’s likely that our longstanding plot policy is not top-of-mind.

We encourage all our members to review our cemetery plot policy below.

It is important to note that if members do not reserve plot(s) in advance, while the right to a plot is free for the first spouse to pass, there is a charge for the plot of the surviving spouse if the intent is to reserve an adjacent plot. The timing to confirm this intent is after the Shloshim. That discussion is between our Lifecycle Event Director and the surviving spouse/family members.

Your may also contact our Director, Lifecycle Events,  Nancy Goldstein or  416.635.5340 (313) and she will address all your questions about availability and pricing.

Cemetery Policy


The following will outline Adath Israel’s longstanding policy with respect to our member’s right to a cemetery plot at the time of death.

While this policy is not new and has been in place for many decades, it may not be top-of-mind. We want to ensure we are providing transparency so our members do not have to navigate difficult issues about a cemetery plot at the time of a loved one’s passing.


Adath Israel (“Adath”) cares for its members from birth until death. Although the synagogue does not own or operate its own cemetery, we are grateful to partner with three cemetery organizations to ensure that our members receive a respectful Jewish burial upon passing and that their grave is cared for in perpetuity.

The synagogue purchases burial plots in sections of a number of cemeteries in anticipation of future need. Our cemetery partner organizations are Roselawn Cemetery; Bathurst Lawn Memorial Park (where there are no allotment rights remaining); and Pardes Shalom Cemetery (operated by Toronto Hebrew Memorial Parks or THMP which also operates Pardes Chaim). Pardes Shalom is nearly full so Adath will purchase cemetery plots at Pardes Chaim once our inventory of plots at Pardes Shalom is depleted.


Every Adath member in good standing is entitled to a cemetery plot at Pardes Shalom at the time of need (death).

a) When is the right to a plot free? 

For Single members and for the first spouse to pass, the right to a plot is at no charge, presuming the member’s annual contribution is paid in full. The specific location will be the next available plot in the Adath Israel section of the cemetery.

Furthermore, if the surviving spouse chooses NOT to be buried in a plot adjacent to their deceased spouse upon passing, they will have the right to be buried in a plot at no charge at the next available location in the cemetery. This presumes that the surviving spouse is a member in good standing at the time of passing.

b) When is there a charge for the right to a plot? 

There is a charge when the surviving spouse chooses to be buried in the plot adjacent to their deceased spouse. This is referred to as an allotment right certificate (or a designation of interment right) and ensures that both spouses can be buried next to each other.

The price the surviving spouse pays for the right to the adjacent plot matches exactly what Adath paid to THMP.  To be clear, Adath does not charge more than what it paid for a Pardes Shalom plot.

Importantly, from a timing standpoint, the office will wait until after the shloshim to connect with the surviving spouse and to ask whether they wish to purchase an adjacent plot.

Separately, please note that individuals who have not purchased interment rights do not have cemetery privileges if they cease to be members.


Adath Israel members – singles and married couples – have the right to reserve their plot(s) prior to the time of need, for which there is a charge. For further clarity, if a couple wishes to pre-purchase adjacent plots, they are required to pay for both plots at that time. When plots are pre-purchased, the couple forgoes its rights to a free plot.

For plots at Pardes Shalom Cemetery, the pre-purchase fee to acquire the burial rights to a plot is based on the same cost which Adath Israel paid to Toronto Hebrew Memorial Parks, the operator of Pardes Shalom Cemetery.

The purchase price of plots at Roselawn Cemetery is set by Adath Israel and is reflective of the price of burial rights in nearby cemeteries.

At Roselawn Cemetery, the purchase price of plots is set by Adath Israel and reflects the pricing of burial rights in nearby cemeteries.

There are two benefits to pre-purchasing plots:

  1. Members will know where they will be buried, providing peace of mind for the surviving spouse and family members at the time of passing.
  2. For plots at Pardes Shalom Cemetery, members can purchase at the same rate for which the shul purchased the plot. Once a section is filled, the fee for a plot in a newer section, as set by THMP, will inevitably be more expensive.  Click HERE for THMP’s current price list.


  • Click HERE for a map of the Adath Israel sections at Pardes Shalom.


We hope this helps to clarify Adath Israel’s cemetery plot policy.  If you have questions about plot reservations, availability and pricing at Pardes Shalom or Roselawn Cemeteries, please contact Carol Handelman, Director, Membership Services and Cemetery and Bereavement Matters, at or call (416) 635-5340 (309).


Organ Donation

Our Spiritual Leaders see organ donation as a new means to fulfill an ancient, eternal religious duty.  This idea also includes the giving of blood, bone marrow and donating redundant organs.

Our Spiritual Leaders urge that consent be given for post-mortem organ donations when requested by doctors and hospitals for use when directly needed for life-saving transplantation procedures.  This applies to the individual in anticipation of his or her own death, as well as to health care proxies or next of kin whenever they are legally empowered to make such decisions on behalf of the deceased.  By so doing, we render a profound and genuine honour to the deceased.



Shiva begins immediately following the burial and lasts for seven days, ending after the morning service on the seventh day. Shiva is not publicly observed on the Sabbath or on holidays.  You should discuss your shiva plans with the Rabbi including the location, time of minyans and what hours you are accepting visitors. The synagogue can help to arrange for service leaders, as well as provide prayer books and kippot.


The Kaddish is a special prayer that affirms God’s justice and speaks of the value of life. A mourner is obligated to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish daily for the first eleven months (less one day) for a parent, and for thirty days for other relatives. Kaddish is then said on the Yahrzeit of your loved one.

Just as one cannot pay another to observe Shabbat in lieu of his own observance, so too one cannot fulfill one’s obligation to recite kaddish by paying another to do so on his/her behalf. Nevertheless, if you do not plan on reciting kaddish following the passing of a loved one but would like to for one of our spiritual leaders to have that individual in mind while reciting kaddish daily, please contact Rabbi David Seed.


Any time after the first month, but within the first year after the passing of a loved one, mourners and their family gather at the gravesite to put in place and formally dedicate a tombstone.  While it is not necessary for rabbis or cantors to be involved, if you would like one of our Spiritual Leaders to be there for you, please contact the office at 416.653.5340.


On the anniversary of a person’s death it is customary to say Kaddish. We observe a yahrzeit by lighting a special candle in memory of our loved one. When the yahrzeit falls on Shabbat, one should light the yahrzeit candle before lighting the Shabbat candles.

Members of Adath Israel receive a reminder of the dates and times that your loved one’s Yahrzeit is to be observed.


Yizkor, which means “remember”. is a special memorial prayer that is recited for a loved one, in the synagogue four times a year on Yom Kippur, Shemini Atzeret, the last day of Passover and the second day of Shavuot. Each year the Synagogue prepares a booklet which is used during these services. The book includes prayers and psalms and you have an opportunity to honour the memory of your loved one by including their names in the pages.

Yizkor may be recited by family members, friends, and others.


Grappling with Grief

Every person has different reactions to situations of stress, grief and loss.  It is not unusual for a mourner to feel deeply saddened one day and normal another or for feelings of loss to come and go for a long period of time after the death of a loved one.  These ups and downs are part of the process of returning to regular living. Our tradition understands that life will never be the same again, after the death of a loved one; however, it is important to try and regain a sense of normalcy as one goes through the mourning period.  If you ever feel the need to speak to someone about these feelings, mourners are urged to speak with our Rabbi or a counselor to help get through this most difficult time. All the resources of the synagogue are ready to be of help to those who are in need.

In addition, the Chesed Committee at Adath Israel has created a Bereavement Support Group for both men and women.  The groups are a caring, safe and confidential setting for you to meet others experiencing the death of a loved one.

Tue, 16 April 2024 8 Nisan 5784