A New Garden Serves our Eternal Need
Our Beth Chaim Garden (Gan Beth Chaim) is a designated area within the Gan Shalom Jewish Cemetery in Briones, near Lafayette. The cemetery is located in a rural setting, surrounded by beautiful hills with native oak and other vegetation that thrives in the nearby regional parks and ranchlands.
Gan Shalom is an all-Jewish cemetery that welcomes families and individuals from all Jewish traditions, including interfaith and those who are unaffiliated. There are designated separate gardens for participating congregations, as well as areas designated for specific faith traditions. Gan Beth Chaim is located on the eastern side of the property, near the gardens designated for B’nai Tikvah and B’nai Shalom. There is also a chapel available for funeral and memorial services.
Q: I am interested; whom should I contact at Beth Chaim about securing a plot?
A: Beth Chaim is not involved in the arrangements of members’ plans for the cemetery. Contact Jay A. Lewis, Managing Funeral Director, FD# 3301, for any and all information; Jay is our main liaison at Gan Shalom.
Business Office: 3415 Mt. Diablo Blvd. Lafayette, CA 94549; 925-962-3636
Cemetery: 1100 Bear Creek Rd. Briones, CA 94553; 925-228-3636
You may also contact Cathie Sheldon at the above numbers.
Q: How much does a plot cost?
A: Plots cost around $8,500. A $1,000 deposit is required.
Q: Once I send in my deposit, should I contact Gan Shalom?
A: A deposit cannot just be sent in. There are documents that must be signed to go along with the deposit. Before any money can be accepted, members of Beth Chaim can make an appointment to meet with representatives of Gan Shalom, and sign the agreement for the deposit to hold a space in the Beth Chaim section.
Q: What financing options are available?
A: For the deposit, there are no financing options, but there are options for the purchase of the grave space.
Q: Can I visit the Gan Shalom Cemetery on my own or do I need an appointment?
A: Families are encouraged to do either or both.
Q: Can I choose my own site within the Beth Chaim Garden?
A: Families will be able to select their own plots. For the first 10 deposits placed by Beth Chaim, the selection is typically determined by the order of deposits placed.
Q: Can I have a family area designated? If so, can I delineate that in some way (of my choosing)?
A: A family section may be designated in the section.
Q: What are the rules about headstones? What phrases or symbols can I put on my headstone? How big can it be? What can it be made of?
A: The guidelines for headstones are set by Gan Shalom, in order to maintain consistent quality and standards throughout the cemetery. The granite bases, for example, are all of a uniform sunset beige color, and the marker must be bronze. The guidelines also encompass the size of the marker and base, and what can or cannot be used in the makeup of the bronze marker (such as symbols used).
Q: Can I bury cremated remains?
A: Gan Shalom rules apply to all burials in the cemetery, even in the designated gardens. Beyond that, however, Beth Chaim has the opportunity to create certain specific policies — such as those pertaining to cremation — and to that end an ad-hoc committee has been formed to deliberate these. As of this writing, although no final determination has yet been made, the prevailing sentiment would be to accommodate this practice.
Q: I purchased a plot long ago in another area that is now owned or administered by Sinai Memorial Chapel. Can I trade that for one in Gan Beth Chaim?
A: Yes, spaces can be traded.
Q: Once I purchase a plot, can I sell it if I later decide not to use it? How do I do that?
A: The only party that can buy a plot back is Gan Shalom. Gan Shalom will repurchase the space at the price the space was sold for. All a member has to do is sign a quitclaim agreement with the cemetery.