Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 18 > Page 42 - How we Buried Our Dead

Page 42 - How we Buried Our Dead

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1977/12/1 (977 reads)

Mrs. Nate Green, Sydney: My brother was sick in the hospital for one month. He died of spinal meningitis. So my grandparents were down from Europe • they* were very re? ligious. My mother went to the hospital one way, my*father was coming home the other w*ay--to tell my mother he had died. Well, she couldn't take it. When she came back, she went to bed. My grandfather was crying. He was an old man about 70, and the tears • I remember the puddle of water that was on the floor. All right. So when C'hevra Kaddisha (the spellings approximate the Yiddish words) brought him home from the hospital, I re? member they put him in the dining room. And they asked my grandfather to go out in the yard • we kept cows • to go in the barn and bring in some hay. And my grandfather put that on the floor and when they brought the body in, they put the body on the straw un? til they washed him. They didn't have him on the table and not on the bare floor. It was hay. That's 1925- And they buried him that afternoon. And my mother was so sick she couldn't go to the funeral. (And they wouldn't keep the body?) No. And 8 months after that my sister died • in Ottawa. The day before Pesach ('assover). So my mother left 7 small children home and when she got to Ottawa, they had buried her. The rabbi wouldn't keep the body. That's religion for you. . Now my mother died on Friday at 1:00, so it was too late. They had to keep her till Sun? day. But they did not do anything to the body, touch the body--until after Sabbath. They just washed it, dressed it, Saturday night. Nate Green: We don't bury them in fancy boxes. Not here. You're not supposed to. You're not supposed even to have any nails or anything into a box. It's supposed to be a pine box with pegs into it. Then, in the bottom of the box, is supposed to be holes. We can't get those boxes anymore. They used to be made in New Glasgow, these plain boxes. So today they're making them a lit? tle bit fancier with the Mogen David (Star of David) on top. But we're not using the boxes the Gentiles are using • we're not using the metal caskets. And we are not al? lowed to have any handles onto the box. Mrs. Green: When my brother died, they had nurses on the case and one came to the house, wanted to see the body • and my grand? father wouldn't allow it. A Christian is not allowed to see a Jewish body. Even if you die in the hospital, the C'hevra Kaddisha comes right away and takes the body. (B. Lipkus, who came to Canada in 1905 in his twenties and who was for many years the Gabi ((the head man in the C'hevra Kaddisha)) in Glace Bay, told us that it would be an insult for the Jewish body to have Chris? tian funeral directors prepare it. "We take it into our own hands and do whatever has to be done. And they've got to be really religious • they've got to be people who every day are doing everything of the orth? odox religion • to be allowed to handle the dead body. To give the respect, you know.") Nate: Now years ago, before I became the Gabi, God forbid, when someone died in CHICKEN _ CHALET K?ntU(;la| fried 4 outlets to serve'you- BioweR St, North Sydney 794-3S34 Sydney Shopping Centre, Prince St Sterling Road, Glace Bay CB. Shopping Pbza, Sydney River Qualified Dispensers Always in Attendance OWL DRUG STORE D. ! MacDonald t Propo Your Northside DOROTHY GRAY DISTRIBUTOR Convalescent and Sick Room Supplies Sales & Rental Drug Sundries and Cosnetics P.O.Box 125 794-3611 North Sydney AI4WAYS AT YOUR SERVICE
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