Looking for a genizah book burial in the San Francisco Bay Area? Ever get the question in Northern California “Where can I properly drop off Shaimos*?” We get this question quite a bit, so we asked Sinai Memorial Chapel Chevra Kadisha what to do with discarded items. For prayer books, siddurim, bentchers, mahzors, and tefillin that were once used for a holy purpose and now for any reason need to be discarded Sinai will place them into a genizah and bury them with dignity.
Sinai takes these discarded shaimos items**, which have innate holiness, on a quarterly schedule and digs a genizah book burial at two of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish cemeteries.
Sinai has established the guidelines below so you can drop off no-longer-needed books and paper for the genizah book burial for no charge (yes, it is free) at the following three locations: Eternal Home Cemetery (1051 El Camino Real, Colma), Home of Eternity Mausoleum & Cemetery (5000 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland) or Gan Shalom Cemetery (1100 Bear Creek Road, Briones)
- Please have all shamus boxed for the genizah book burial.
- Sinai will not pick-up your items. You will need to arrange a drop-off.
- Sinai will provide a genizah and accept shamus deliveries four (4) times per year –
- 9am to 4pm on Monday, July 25, 2022
- 9am to 4pm on Monday, October 24, 2022
- 9am to 4pm on Monday, January 30, 2023
- 9am to 4pm on Monday, March 27, 2023
- 9am to 4pm on Monday, July 31, 2023
- Please sort all shaimos prior to bringing it to the genizah at the cemetery. There is not adequate dignified space for sorting at the cemetery.
- Sinai only accepts paper, talesim (prayer shawl) and Tefillin (Phylacteries). Sinai does not accept plastic, laminate or CDs.
- Shamus will not be accepted at other times and may not be dropped off at the genizah or otherwise left unattended. Unattended shamus presents a potential safety issue for our staff and visitors and may compromise the respect that the items needing to be buried deserve.
* This practice refers to the Jewish tradition of burying all sheets of paper bearing the name of G-d, known as shaimos or shamus, a legal requirement that traces back to the Talmudic Tractate Shabbat, which forbids the destruction of such materials. Sinai Memorial Chapel Chevra Kadisha hosts the resting places of these stashes of “sacred trash”—where they are supposed to remain forever—in what are called genizah גניזה “storage”; plural: genizot.
** The following shaimos items do NOT need to be buried in the genizah: Kippahs or Yarmulke, Jewish Newspapers, Hebrew language books, flyers, etc. that are secular in purpose. The following items are considered shaimos and DO need to be buried in the genizah: Halachic material, Mezuzah scrolls, Seforim (Chumashim, Siddurim, Machzorim, Gemara, Tanach etc…) that has been printed or written with the intention of explaining Torah.