Friday, August 30, 2019

The New Har Hamnuchot Bais Ha'Chayim ..... UNDERGROUND!!!

Under a mountain on the outskirts of Jerusalem, 
workers are completing three years of labor on a 
massive subterranean necropolis comprised of a 
mile (1.5 kilometers) of tunnels with sepulchers for interring the dead.

Up above, the Har Hamenuchot Cemetery dominates the 
hillside overlooking the main highway leading into Jerusalem 
from Tel Aviv. 
But in October, the cemetery’s management plans to open the 
first section of a sprawling catacomb complex which, when completed, will provide 23,000 gravesites for an increasingly crowded country.
“People will die probably forever,” said Arik Glazer, chief 
executive of Rolzur Tunneling, the company building the tunnel tombs, “so you have to get space for that.”
Land is in short supply in Israel, and Jewish and Muslim burial customs require interring the dead in the ground and prohibit cremation. The hilltop cemetery is almost at capacity, with 
nearly a quarter million graves. The first underground section opening in October will have capacity for 8,000. The remaining sections are slated to open in the coming years.
Like other increasingly crowded metropolises, Tel Aviv has embraced vertical cemetery structures to accommodate 
growing demand, but now Israel is looking for solutions below ground.
Even in the blazing summer heat, the labyrinthine vaults 
maintain their steady year-round temperature of 23 degrees 
Celsius (73 degrees Fahrenheit).
The limestone walls are lined four-high with tombs that 
resemble small Japanese capsule hotels. Giant flame-hued polyhedron light fixtures designed by German artist Yvelle 
Gabriel dangle at intersections between the avenues and streets deep in the mountain.
The entire project cost an estimated $50 million and took just
 over three years to complete. The tunnels take up just 5% of the total subterranean area of the mountain available for future 
tombs, Glazer said.
Part of the inspiration behind this project was the ancient 
Jewish custom of cave burials found at sites around the Holy 
Land, from the UNESCO heritage site of Beit Shearim near 
Haifa, to rocky hillsides around Jerusalem.
“The basic blueprints for this project were the cemetery at Beit Shearim,” said Adi Alphandary, head of Rolzur’s business development. Those catacombs, active between the second and fourth centuries, were recognized by the United Nations as a 
Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Amit Reem said that families would inter the deceased’s remains in the catacombs,
 then seal the door with a rock for eight months.
“When they opened the door of the cave, inside the cave was 
only the skeleton with no flesh,” Reem said. The bones were 
then collected and often placed in stone boxes, known as 
ossuaries, inside the cave chamber.
While the modern-day burial chambers will simply be sealed 
with a grave marker, Hananya Shahor, executive director of the Jewish burial association in Jerusalem, said that Orthodox 
rabbis they consulted said the sprawling site is “100% 
acceptable according to Jewish tradition.”
“We are almost sure that people will like this way much, much
 more than the old systems of burial,” he said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Get buried like in the old days.
Check out the many mishnayous and gemarahs that indicate that this style of burial was the norm in those times.