Genizah means “reserved” or “hidden” in Hebrew, and is traditionally a place where Jews store sacred documents when they fall out of use.
As a service to the community and in accordance with Jewish tradition, Mount Sinai accepts worn out siddurim (prayer books), Torah scrolls, tallisim, tzitzit, tefellin, and other sacred materials containing the Hebrew name of God and buries them free of charge in our parks. Each year, we provide this service to synagogues, organizations and individuals from our local community. We do this to show respect for God’s Holy Name.
You are welcome to drop off your worn and unused sacred materials (Shemmot) for the Genizah Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM at either of our cemetery properties. If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact us at 800-600-0076. Once we receive the Shemmot, it all will be transported to Mount Sinai Simi Valley where our Genizah burials take place.
Before you drop off siddurim, we encourage you to take a careful look at what you are bringing us. For many people, the family prayer books were used as a special place to record family records, memories and stories that may have significant meaning to you.
The burial of the Shemmot will occur at a later date as part of our community educational services. If you would like to arrange a private Genizah burial service for your school, Chavurah or adult group, please contact us so that we can assist you.
Please use the following guidelines when collecting items to drop off for the burial in the Genizah:
Mount Sinai WILL accept the following from individuals or congregations:
♦ Bound Jewish bibles, rabbinic text or commentary (ranging from ancient to the most modern and in any language). Jewish prayer books, and individual pages which are detached from the prayer books.
♦ Handwritten, properly written appearances of God’s name. Care should be taken always to alter such names when writing or printing in an unbound, disposable text.
♦ Jewish ritual objects -Torah scrolls, tallit, tzitzit, tefellin, and other sacred materials containing the Hebrew name of God.
PLEASE DO NOT DROP OFF:
♦ Loose pages from the printer or photocopying machine, even those that are lightly held together, but not bound into a book, are intended to be temporary and do not need to be buried.
♦ Secular books which reference God’s name. However please note, it is an act of piety to tear out the pages containing divine names. Those may be treated as loose pages and recycled.
♦ Books with transliterations of God’s name or God’s name written in the vernacular.
♦ Books prepared by gentiles for gentile religious use (such as the King James Bible) are not sanctified, and may be discarded, despite the presence of Jewish material therein.
Please note that the Mount Sinai Genizah should not be used as a depository for personal items including calendars, mail, newspapers, solicitations, magazines, or school papers. It is not respectful mix these items with sacred materials. Items such as kippot, audio/visual materials, computer disks, diagrams or pictures without text and stories and newspapers that do not contain sections of Torah need not be brought to the Genizah. There are other items which technically may not have the status of a holy object, but one may feel that they should be treated respectfully, such as pictures of holy individuals. These such items should be disposed of in a respectable manner. For example: Wrapped in paper or plastic before being placed in the trash.
If you have any questions about what is suitable for Genizah burial, please call 323-769-1351.