Kever Avot – 5781 – Individual Observance
Some people avoid cemeteries, others find them interesting places to visit for a variety of reasons.
While because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot gather together in the cemetery, we can make individual visits. They are usually not crowded, at least not with the living. Older cemeteries with raised markers are often historically interesting. Some grave stones, usually the older ones, have interesting inscriptions or symbols. Some people go to cemeteries to bird watch. If you are very lucky, you may see a cat.
Cemeteries can be a good place to bring one’s own mortality to mind and to think about the lives of the people buried there, most of them strangers, most of them largely forgotten, reduced to a name, some dates and maybe a few more words, And yet, they were once living vital people like ourselves, who probably did good and evil, loved and were loved, worked and played, they may have had children and even now have descendants who never knew them and may not even know of them.
This is not necessarily morbid, an awareness of death can help one realize how precious and fleeting life is. We might be reminded to show how much we love those dear to us, how fragile they are and how we should let them know how much we love them while we can.
It is good to get out, in this time of isolation and social distancing. Why not visit a cemetery? We are blessed with many interesting and beautiful ones on the coast. It is a Jewish tradition to place a stone on a grave marker when visiting. Some people observe the tradition of washing their hands when leaving a cemetery,
Here are some of the coast’s cemeteries:
Cuffy’s Cove Cemetery in Elk
This is a beautiful and wild cemetery overlooking the ocean, about a mile and a half north of Elk. There are three Jewish graves here. Parking can be a bit tricky. People park on the east side of Highway 1, but parking on the west side may be safer (This probably does not need to be said, but don’t make a U turn or unsafe left turn into Highway 1)
There are several cemeteries. The community cemetery where the Jewish graves are located is the Community Cemetery. This is the southernmost one.
Don’t get too close to the edge of the cliff, this is unsafe. Watch out for gopher holes.
Little River Cemetery
The Little River Cemetery is 0.2 miles south of Van D amme State Park Beach and the Little River Inn. There is one Jewish grave here. The cemetery is notable for the presence of a 60 foot ocean blow hole. Parking is somewhat tricky here. It is best approached from the North
Mendocino Village Jewish Cemetery
This is the cemetery with the majority of Jewish graves. It was created by the MCJC in 1991 as part of the Mendocino Cemetery District Evergreen Cemetery. The Jewish section is in the southwest corner of the Evergreen cemetery, surrounded by a low wooden fence.
This is a hidden cemetery on an unmarked road with a locked gate. You can park on Pt Cabrillo Dr (Rd 409 South) just a little ways south of Highway 1 and walk in, about 1/4 of a mile along the road. It is a lovely place in the middle of the forest., secluded and a great place to bird watch.
Ocean View Jewish Cemetery – Fort Bragg
This is an MCJC Jewish cemetery created in 2012 within the private Rose Park Ocean View cemetery, north of Fort Bragg on Pudding Creek Road. The entrance is easy to miss. It is a couple hundred feet east of Highway 1. Make a left hand turn. If you get to Waste Management, which is next door, you have gone too far. The Jewish section is marked by four small stone corner posts. It is several hundred feet up the road on the right.
©Robert G Evans 09/22/2020