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Rabbi Chiam Yosef Sharabi, An Israeli Mystic

Ceremony Stone Symbols

IMG_1991 I just took a walking tour of the Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York where, like the famous Pere LaChaise Cemetery in Paris, many famous people are buried. In Greenwood you can find such luminaries as Leonard Bernstein, Louis Tiffany, Horace Greeley, Jean-Michael Basquiat and Boss Tweed.

(The All Seeing Eye of the Oddfellows)

One thing that was noted on the tour was the symbolism on the headstones. There are many symbols and here are a few of the more common ones:

An urn with a cloth draped on it indicates the physical body as a vessel of the soul (urn) draped in a shroud)

Two columns indicate a married couple or closely related relatives like a brother and sister are buried there.

A scroll indicates the life's accomplishments that will be reviewed upon reaching the Pearly Gates.

A grave stone in the shape of a tree trunk often marks the grave of someone who dies young.

A lamb or a small headstone indicates the death of a baby or young child. Lamb headstone

On a Jewish headstone, a carving of hands held in the form of a priestly blessing indicates the grave of a Kohein (one belonging to a priestly class).

A ball is a symbol of the cycle of life.

Please check out Living Among Headstones: Life in a Country Cemetery for a fuller list of symbols to look for on headstones.


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