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Jewish cemetery in Roseville offers green burial

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By ROBIN SCHWARTZ
MyFox Detroit Reporter

ROSEVILLE, Mich. (MyFox Detroit)
-- A wood chip path may lead to the final resting place for those who want a green burial.  It's part of a secluded wooded area at Hebrew Memorial Gardens in Roseville, which is now the nation's first certified Jewish nature preserve cemetery.

"It's very peaceful, very serene, and it gives an overall feeling of comfort for the families," said funeral director Otto Dube.

He took us into the quiet, five acre forest now recognized by the Los Angles-based Green Burial Council.  There is room for a thousand green graves there and strict guidelines will be followed.

"When we have a burial, you're not allowed to use anything with cement.  The burials themselves, it has to be a certified green casket, which means there is no metal inclusions.  No embalming is allowed," Dube said.

Graves will also be marked with unpolished, natural headstones.

So why go green even in death?  Each year cemeteries in the U.S. bury 830,000 gallons of embalming fluid and 180 million pounds of steel.  Cremation has its own negative environmental impact.

"Cremation creates a bigger carbon footprint than what we're doing here, and Jewish funerals are traditionally not for cremation anyway, but here everything goes back to the earth," Dube explained.

It's a process the funeral director said is kinder and gentler to the planet, and what he hopes will bring comfort to families in their time of grief.

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