Local Cemetery Connects New England to Israel in Unique Fashion

By Shoshana Seewald – Jewish Advocate

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The new welcome center and chapel Fred Lappin is trying to bring more hope and healing to the ritual of death. As the CEO ofSharon Memorial Park in Sharon, the largest Jewish cemetery in New England, and in his current role as president of the International Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association, his goal is to ease the grieving process and bring compassionate care to those who have lost a loved one. With the newly dedicated Sharon Memorial Park Welcome Center and Chapel, his mission is now even easier.

“We are in the business of helping people,” said Lappin. “We aid families ‘l’dor v’dor,’ from generation to generation. We are lucky enough to have a spectacular piece of land and are able to provide a place to be sad, grieve, and to heal in a very welcoming environment.”

The new Welcome Center and Chapel helps those who are grieving at a time when they need it most. The beautifully designed building can accommodate funeral services,has adjoining private family room suites and provides counseling services when needed.

After each burial, Sharon Memorial Park sends a Jewish National Fund ( JNF) tree certificate to the next of kin, in memory of their loved ones.Said Lappin: “Jewish National Fund and Sharon Memorial Park have a shared objective: to find ways for people in the U.S. to better connect with Israel, and to help the land of Israel and its people.”

Sending out JNF tree certificates continues Lappin’s connection to the organization, which stretches back several years. A former member of JNF’s New England Board of Directors, Lappin was looking for ways to unite the local Jewish community with Israel. In 2007, in conjunction with JNF’s CEO Russell F. Robinson, Lappin came up with the idea of creating the Wall of Eternal Life at American Independence Park which overlooks the hills of Jerusalem in Israel. Today, the wall stands as a testament to Lappin’s commitment and passion for Israel.

“This project provides a meaningful opportunity for the global Jewish community to tie themselves more closely to Israel while memorializing the life of a loved one,” shared JNF New England Director Sara Hefez, who honored her father-in-law on the wall. “This project has become a true vehicle for JNF and I am very proud that to date, the Wall of Eternal Life has raised almost $500,000.”

Sharon Memorial Park can be reached at (781) 828-7216.

For more information on JNF’s Wall of Eternal Life, mission, projects or more, contact Director Sara Hefez at shefez@jnf.org or (617) 423-0999, extension 811.

Shoshana Seewald is Marketing and Communications Associate with the Jewish National Fund.

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