Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary in Los Angeles makes it a point to offer many different ways of saying goodbye to our loved ones, including a rather touchy subject within the Jewish religion — cremation. The Orthodox sector is not in favor of it, but Paul Goldstein, general manager, says Hillside is not the only Jewish cemetery and mortuary that has always offered this option.
“Actually the majority of us in this area have it on our menus,” Goldstein explained. “What we did do differently is decide to advertise it.”
Goldstein says that over the last several years, the rate of cremation in the Jewish community has significantly increased; with the most recent estimates showing more than one-third of Jews in Southern California are choosing cremation. In addition, as Goldstein and his staff attended many Jewish events, many people were stating that they wanted to be cremated and wished they could use Hillside.
On the rabbinical side, Goldstein shared that rabbis expressed the importance of “having a place” once we are gone. They urged people who decided to cremate to place the urn in a Jewish cemetery and include as many Jewish rituals as possible.
Goldstein realized there was a “disconnect” in the community. The majority of people did not know Hillside could assist them with this option and that a significant portion of the Jewish community would support their decision. “It was important to put the two pieces together, so we developed the ad you see in this magazine,” he said.
As far as a cost difference between cremation and a traditional burial, Goldstein says that this really depends on what the person chooses. Most differences in price only occur, because there is an urn instead of a casket. “One of the things we are most proud of is how many options we offer the community and how once they truly compare what is included in the “package” and the value Hillside offers, we are always competitively priced,” he added.
To show just how the Jewish community has changed throughout the decades, there has been nothing but support for Hillside. Goldstein wants to let everyone know that in today’s world, burial of any kind is a very personal issue and so different for everyone. The main thing is that as long as people are comfortable with their decision, Hillside feels that is the wise choice.