"Inclusive" cemetery to give Jews a choice at the end
Prestbury will be home to Gloucestershire's first all-inclusive Jewish cemetery.
The county's Liberal Jewish Community, which was founded last year, has been granted its own plot of land at Cheltenham Cemetery, in Bouncer's Lane.
excellent news: David Naydorf at Cheltenham Cemetery and Crematorium
It means Jews of all denominations can be buried side-by-side in a recognised Jewish burial ground for the first time in the county.
The organisation plans to consecrate the site with a special ceremony next month.
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David Naydorf, chairman of the Gloucestershire Liberal Jewish Community, said: "This is excellent news. We aim to offer an inclusive brand of Judaism, which includes giving our members a choice when they die.
"Jews in the county can now be buried next to husbands, wives and family members of other religions in an all-encompassing Jewish cemetery.
"It also allows for cremation, something which is not an option for orthodox Jews."
The liberal movement, founded in the 19th century, espouses the principles of Judaism but has softened its stance towards aspects such as membership criteria, and inter-marriage with people of other faiths.
The existing Jewish cemetery, in Elm Street, near Tewkesbury Road, remains exclusively for Orthodox Jews and does not cater for cremations.
Mr Naydorf said: "Our congregation has grown exponentially since it took off last year.
"There is a real need for our brand of Judaism. It is more secular and less wrapped up in ancient law and tradition.
"That is the way we believe religion must develop. You have to change with the times and adapt to make your faith as relevant as possible in today's world."
Allison Hyman, secretary of the Liberal Jewish community, said: "Each movement of Judaism has its place - and now we have our own cemetery.
"It is very important as it will give our members a designated resting place."
Nigel Cole, chairman of the national Liberal Judaism movement, said the news was a sign of commitment from the community towards the growing movement.
He said: "Liberal Judaism seeks to support Jews through all stages of life. We are delighted at this sign of the community's continuing development."
The cemetery will be consecrated at a service at 3pm on April 19.