Garden of Remembrance Receives Green Burial Council Certification
The Garden of Remembrance (Gan Zikaron) Memorial Park in Clarksburg, Maryland — the region’s only nonprofit cemetery serving the entire Jewish Community — has become the first cemetery in Maryland to be certified as a Green Hybrid Burial Ground by the Green Burial Council (GBC).
“Our Board and Advisory Committee have been discussing what it means to be a “green cemetery,” said Hank Levine, president of the 150-acre memorial park. “Many aspects of Jewish burial practices are inherently ‘green’ such as wooden caskets, burial shrouds, and no embalming,” he explained. “We wanted the community to know and appreciate this, and to understand some of the steps we have taken to honor the environment even as we preserve and practice Jewish traditions.”
Gan Zikaron was certified as a “Hybrid” Burial Ground because some sections of the memorial park do not use concrete liners while others use liners which do not decompose even though all liners have openings on the bottom for decomposition of wooden caskets and remains. The seven-part certification assessment process reviewed all aspects of the Garden of Remembrance to evaluate compliance including operations, landscape and maintenance policies, family involvement, trust funds, and materials.
The mission of the Green Burial Council is to inspire and advocate for environmentally sustainable, natural death care through education and certification. “Recognition by the Green Burial Council is a testament to our commitment to the environment and the sensitivity and diversity of our community,” shared Glenn Easton, executive director of the Garden of Remembrance. “We look to our Advisory Committee of community rabbis and synagogue leaders for continuing guidance in our practices of ‘bal tashchit,’ the commandment to preserve our environment.”
The Garden of Remembrance has multiple sections throughout the memorial park for the community at-large and for its twenty-seven partner congregations. Founded in 1999, the Memorial Park has held over 2,100 burials, and accommodates the wide range of religious observances and practices of the Jewish community.
For information about the Garden of Remembrance, please contact their office at 301-428-3000 or [email protected]. The Memorial Park is located at 14321 Comus Road, Clarksburg, Maryland 20871.
Garden of Remembrance
Names New Executive Director
The Garden of Remembrance Memorial Park has named Glenn S. Easton as its new executive director, according to Hank Levine, president of the 150-acre nonprofit cemetery that serves all streams of the Jewish community. Easton, a Jewish communal professional for more than 30 years, follows Sheldon Grosberg, Garden of Remembrance’s founding executive director, who held the position for 20 years prior to his recent passing.
As part of his role as executive director of three of the region’s largest synagogues, Easton brings decades of experience managing multiple cemeteries to his new position. He has been president of both the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America and the North American Association of Synagogue Executives; has served on the boards of numerous local and national community and civic organizations; has published in the areas of nonprofit management, fundraising/development, and technology; and founded an information and management consulting company that served the nonprofit and faith communities.
Easton holds a master’s degree in public management and administration from American Jewish University in Los Angeles and a bachelor’s degree in history from California State University, Northridge, including coursework at UCLA and Tel Aviv University.
Founded in 2000, The Garden of Remembrance, a partner agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, is the region’s most inclusive Jewish cemetery. It is the Washington region’s only not-for-profit cemetery managed by a board of Jewish community leaders, with sections owned by twenty-six synagogues of all branches as well as extensive areas for unaffiliated individuals and families. Located in Upper Montgomery County, plans include the construction of a chapel and development of expanded grounds to accommodate the future needs of the area’s growing Jewish community.
Garden of Remembrance Selected a Finalist in the American Cemetery of Excellence Awards
The Garden of Remembrance (Gan Zikaron) Memorial Park in Clarksburg, Maryland was selected as a Finalist in the annual American Cemetery of Excellence (ACE) Awards. Each of the finalists “has created a place where lives are commemorated, deaths are recorded, and legacies live on,” describes Patti Martin Bartsche in American Cemetery Magazine, sponsor of the ACE Awards. “And in the year of the coronavirus pandemic, every one found ways to connect with grieving families and provide meaningful services during uncertain and unprecedented times…and stood out not only for their performance, professionalism, and innovation, but also for their ability to look to the past to envision the future, “ she concludes.
Founded in 1999, the Garden of Remembrance is the only nonprofit Jewish cemetery serving the greater Maryland, D.C., and Virginia Jewish community. Located on 152 acres of rolling hills, forests, gardens, and grasslands, the Garden of Remembrance has twenty-seven Partner Congregations including Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, Orthodox, and Renewal synagogues and serves those not affiliated with a congregation.
“Being recognized as a cemetery of excellence is a testament to the founding vision of our lay leaders and a demonstration of the dedication to excellence by our wonderful staff members, especially during these difficult coronavirus challenges,” relates Glenn Easton, Garden of Remembrance executive director. “We strive to serve the Jewish community one family at a time by honoring loved ones and comforting the bereaved,” he concludes.
The Garden of Remembrance (Gan Zikaron) Memorial Park is located at 14321 Comus Road, Clarksburg, Maryland 20871 and can be reached at 301-428-3000, [email protected], or through its website at www.gardenofremembrance.org.
Welcome Kehilat Pardes, our 27th Partner Congregation!
The Garden of Remembrance is proud to welcome Kehilat Pardes as our 27th Partner Congregation–providing a special section of the Memorial Park for their members and families.
Kehilat Pardes – The Rock Creek Synagogue is a modern Orthodox Jewish community located in Aspen Hill, Maryland known for its culture of welcoming, spiritual dynamism, and social responsibility. We welcome Rabbi Uri Topolosky, synagogue president, Miki Moskowitz, and the members of the Kehilat Pardes Community. Our thanks to Colin Alter and Jonathan Kirsch for their assistance with the arrangements.
Welcome Mishkan Torah, our 26th Partner Congregation!
The Garden of Remembrance is proud to offer a warm welcome to Mishkan Torah as our 26th Partner Congregation. Its Congregants now join thousands of others in making this inclusive Memorial Park their eternal home.
Mishkan Torah is a dual affiliated, Reconstructionist and Conservative Congregation in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Sheldon Grosberg z”l”
Sheldon Grosberg, the founding Executive Director of the Garden of Remembrance for twenty years, passed away on September 1, 2019. Sheldon was a gift to the Washington Jewish community, extending his vision and leadership as he served on the boards of many charitable organizations. He was a supporter of social justice and a bridge-builder, always finding (and sometimes creating) common ground. And he was a warm friend, extending kindness to all. Sheldon was frequently described as a “mensch of all mensches”. Read the Washington Jewish Week’s special tribute here.
Since the fall of 2000, many exciting developments have taken place at the Garden of Remembrance, helping to strengthen its role as the preferred cemetery for many congregations, organizations and individuals throughout the greater Washington area.
In addition to the growing interest from congregations, important traditions, news and events are helping to establish the Garden of Remembrance as a community-centered memorial park.
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