Over 60% of Birmingham Central Shul members are currently enrolled in the United Synagogue Funeral Expenses Scheme (FES).

The United Synagogue Burial Society (USBS) is responsible for all the activities surrounding the burial of our members who have enrolled in the scheme. The USBS organise, oversees and advises on the various processes that are required by both Jewish and English & Welsh law and are responsible for maintaining the infrastructure of its burial grounds.

It maintains thirteen cemeteries, active and disused. The cemeteries that are permanently open for new burials are Bushey Old, Bushey New, Waltham Abbey, Willesden, East Ham and Sheffield.

The FES allows you to be buried at one of our open cemeteries at no additional cost to your loved ones. This covers all direct funeral expenses incurred by the United Synagogue for members who pass away within the M25.

Outside of the M25, Central Shul assists the family in advising and coordinating with arranging for their loved ones to be brought to the Cemetery of their choice.  This is the only cost the family is faced with at the time of bereavement.

Payment into the FES scheme must be continuous and for people joining over the age of 40, there is a sliding scale entrance fee, based on age.

Currently, the annual scheme rates per individual are:

  • £93 per annum for members aged over 30

Without FES, it costs 16,000 to be buried in a US cemetery (Bushey or Waltham Abbey).

We would recommend you contact the shul when a family member is extremely unwell. If they are in hospital, please ensure the ward is aware that the family member is Jewish and of the importance of an urgent religious funeral. If the person passes away, please call Richard Izon on 07881 915200 – he advises and coordinates between the family, the United Synagogue Burial Society (USBS) & Painters Funeral directors. He will require the following information: full name of the deceased, date of birth, Hebrew name, cause of death, USBS ID number & current location. He can help you find some of this information by contacting the Shul Office on your behalf.

On the person’s passing, you will need to obtain a medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD) from either:

  1. The family doctor who doesn’t have to have seen the patient in the last 28 days
  2. Any doctor who knows the facts and has seen the deceased after passing
  3. The hospital doctor
  4. The coroner, if autopsy is required: which may take approximately 1 week (a non-intrusive MRI scan is usually available).

The MCCD is required to register the death. The doctor will scan and send the form to the Registrar and you then need to register the death online. Here are direct links to the Birmingham and Solihull websites so you can register on-line. If the death occurs in another municipal area, you will need to find the local Registrar’s website online to register.

On registering the death, the Registrar will contact you, usually by phone and afterwards, the Registrar will email a Green form (allowing a burial to take place) to the undertakers who will forward it to the USBS. You can at some later date purchase a formal death certificate.

When you register the death, please nominate as your undertaker: William H Painter, 398 Yardley Rd, South Yardley, Birmingham B25 8LT (0121 706 1291). Sharon (07860 849871) deals with the Jewish community and she can answer questions and will provide updates. Inform Sharon of the deceased details and location. Painters will collect and transport to the nominated cemetery. As an example, Painters charge in the region of £600 for transporting the deceased from Birmingham to Bushey. The Taharah will take place at the cemetery.

USBS handle the Taharah and burial, co-ordinating with the family and the funeral director. They will ask if the family wish the shul Rabbi to officiate or will arrange for a substitute to officiate.

The Shul will of course assist in arrangements for the Shiva which includes providing chairs and prayer books, as well as organising services and notifying the membership.

We are all aware of the anxiety and anguish that happens with the passing of a cherished loved one and are here to support you in times of bereavement.

More details about USBS can be found on the burial section of the US website.

Richard Izon – Burial Society Coordinator

All prices are correct as of January 2024.


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