America’s First Green Jewish Cemetery
After nearly two years of planning by a consortium of San Francisco Bay Area Jewish congregations, Fernwood’s Gan Yarok cemetery (meaning green garden) was consecrated in 2010.
Gan Yarok, America’s first green Jewish cemetery, incorporates three sections: Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform/Renewal. The principles guiding Gan Yarok were established by the founding rabbis of the cemetery, who represented all streams of modern Judaism.
As an environmentally conscious green cemetery, all graves in Gan Yarok are hand-dug, and no concrete liners or embalming fluid are allowed. Caskets are optional, and if used, must be biodegradable. Gravestones or grave markers, if chosen, must be natural boulders and engraved simply.
As a full service cemetery and funeral home in the city of Mill Valley, Fernwood offers a range of biodegradable natural wood caskets, wicker caskets or shrouds, and natural stone markers rather than tombstones or headstones. As part of Fernwood’s overall land restoration plan, landscaping in Gan Yarok Jewish cemetery consists of native California plants, which are allowed to follow the natural cycles of the seasons as a living memorial.
Maintaining Jewish traditions
Gan Yarok incorporates the values of the green movement, while maintaining the Jewish funeral traditions of burial and honoring our loved ones. In the words of Rabbi Judah Dardik of Congregation Beth Jacob, “We are making a natural spot, the holiest place that a resting body can have.”
Fernwood’s Remembrance Room is a special, contemporary space for Jewish funerals and memorials. It is one of the only chapels in the world where kohanim, Jewish people who enjoy an honored status in Judaism, are able to participate in the service. The Fernwood chapel features a floor-to-ceiling window that looks out on lush greenery, flowers and fountains, enabling kohanim to officiate, by using a sound system wired to the outside.
Gan Yarok Jewish Cemetery Pricing
Burial Space: starting from $9,200
Click here to see our plans and pricing.