A Jewish cemetery is a cemetery where members of the Jewish faith are buried in keeping with Jewish tradition.
The Jews, also known as the Jewish people, are an ethnoreligious group originating from the Israelites, or Hebrews, of the Ancient Near East.
A cemetery or graveyard is a place where the remains of dead people are buried or otherwise interred.
Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague by Yair Haklai
Cemeteries are referred to in several different ways in Hebrew, including bet kevarot, beit almin or bet olam, the bet chayyim and bet shalom.
The land of the cemetery is considered holy and a special consecration ceremony takes place upon its inauguration.
According to Jewish tradition, Jewish burial grounds are sacred sites and must remain undisturbed in perpetuity.
Establishing a cemetery is one of the first priorities for a new Jewish community.
A Jewish cemetery is generally purchased and supported with communal funds.
Showing proper respect for the dead is intrinsic to Jewish law.
The connection between the soul and the human body after death is an essential aspect of Jewish belief in the eternity of the soul.
Thus, disinterring the dead, deriving benefit from a corpse or grave, or acting in any way that may be perceived as "ridiculing the helpless", such as making derogatory remarks or joking, but also partaking in the pleasures or needs of the living, such as eating, drinking or smoking, are forbidden in the presence of the dead.
Showing proper respect for the dead also requires a prompt burial, the waiver of certain rabbinic restrictions on Shabbat and religious holidays to insure proper care of the dead, the ritual cleaning and dressing of the body in shrouds before burial, and laws concerning proper conduct in a cemetery.
Shabbat or Shabbos or the Sabbath is Judaism's day of rest and seventh day of the week, on which religious Jews and certain Christians remember the Biblical creation of the heavens and the earth in six days and the Exodus of the Hebrews, and look forward to a future Messianic Age.
To ensure that the requirements for Jewish burial are met and that each member of the community is afforded a proper burial, Jewish communities establish burial societies known as the Chevra Kadisha to provide these services free of charge.
A chevra kadisha is an organization of Jewish men and women who see to it that the bodies of deceased Jews are prepared for burial according to Jewish tradition and are protected from desecration, willful or not, until burial.
In larger Jewish communities, cemeteries are sometimes subdivided into sections according to the chevra kadisha that uses and is responsible for that section of the cemetery's care and upkeep.