Jewish funerary architecture in Britain and Ireland since 1656

In Hebrew, a Jewish burial ground is referred to by several names: Bet Kevarot ‘house of graves’, Bet Hayim ‘house of life’ or Bet Olam ‘house of eternity.’ According to halakhah (Orthodox Jewish law) it is forbidden to disturb the physical remains of the dead. Burial grounds are regarded as sacred places in perpetuity. Although no great emphasis is placed on the afterlife in Judaism, which is primarily concerned with conduct in the here and now, the concept of Tehiat HaMetim (the Resurrection of the Dead) is a basic doctrine. A Jewish burial ground is consecrated ground. In practice, therefore, Jewish burial grounds may not be disturbed through archaeolog? ical investigation or redevelopment. Britain’s Jewish community which, since the Cromwellian Resettlement of 1656, has never numbered more than about 450,000 people (after the Second World War), down to 267,000 according to the 2001 Census, has a significant legacy of burial

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