City to Trim Trees Along Washington Cemetery


Plans are in place to trim trees bordering Washington Cemetery, which will make the adjacent Bay Parkway more halachically “safe” for Kohanim. Following a meeting Tuesday morning between representatives of Vaad Mishmeres Kehunah (VMK), Senator Simcha Felder, and Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffries, the city agreed to grant permits and perform the needed work.

“The commissioner was very eager to work with us and do whatever he could to accommodate the needs of the community,” said Shlomo Himmel of Sen. Felder’s office.

VMH spearheaded these and many other such efforts in spreading public awareness and working to remove halachic pitfalls for Kohanim, who may not pass under “roofs” that cover the burial places of Jews and also overhang adjacent streets, roads and the like. The most common problem involves large trees that grow on the edges of many batei chaim.

The trees that grow along Washington Cemetery and cover many parts of Bay Parkway have made the area problematic for some time. Commissioner Jeffries agreed to grant permits and arrange for trimming of trees that will make the middle lanes permissible for Kohanim to traverse. However, the branches covering the lanes on the sides of either side of the street cannot be trimmed and as such, those lanes will remain problematic.

The commissioner expressed hopes that the work could be done by December.