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New American Reform Responsa

185. Metal Tombstone

QUESTION: The deceased has requested that a metal grave marker be used. He was engaged in aluminum fabrication and designed and produced some fine decorative work. Should this request be honored by the cemetery committee as there are no metal markers now in the cemetery? (Richard Cohen, New York NY)ANSWER: Tradition has required that graves be marked for the honor of the dead (Gen 35.20) and to prevent kohanim from straying onto them (M M K 1.2). A durable material was used so that the descendants would not need to replace it. Usually the local stone has been used; although in the poorer sections of Europe wooden markers were used. There is nothing in the literature which would prevent the use of a metal marker. The cemetery committee must decide whether it is appropriate and whether it will need unusual maintenance. They may reject this request or acceed to it.June 1989

If needed, please consult Abbreviations used in CCAR Responsa.