The Sunday between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur has become synonymous with visiting relatives interred at the Newark Historic Cemeteries. That is the one day all year when armed guards are present.
This year a cousin’s tombstone unveiling was set for the day between the holidays at Beth Israel Cemetery in Woodbridge. It was like weighing the scales and asking, on the one hand, is it more important to honor many closely related deceased relatives or on the other is it more important to honor the one deceased cousin and spend time with many living relatives from her family. The answer was a no-brainer.
After leaving the cemetery and spending time at brunch with about a dozen cousins we don’t get to see often enough, we headed to the Gomel Chesed Cemetery and Annex in Newark. As I reached for some stones to place on the graves, a young man asked if my last name was Cohen. I looked up to hear him say his name. Quickly, I realized that he is another cousin. He recognized my husband and me from the photographs in the newsletters I send to all the family members. His grandfather was my father-in-law’s cousin.
We had arrived to visit my in-laws graves shortly before the guard left, which gave us just enough time for a fast hello to our young cousin and barely enough time to meander through to my maternal grandparents, and about a dozen other family graves, before heading back down the Garden State Parkway to where my parents are interred at Mt. Lebanon Cemetery in Iselin. Missing the chance to visit my paternal grandparents at the Grove Street Cemetery in Newark this year since the guards went off duty, I was comforted knowing that my cousins were there and placed a stone.
The picture above shows the sunny skies. In between our jaunts, we stopped off for a soft drink and as we were walking, we came upon another cousin and his wife. It was a big day for our family, dead and alive…the truest balance of life.