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Genizah Guidelines

Burying Sacred Materials and Books

If you have any questions about what is suitable for Genizah burial, please call 800.576.1994

Hillside is honored to provide our local community with a Genizah for burial of Shemot, which may include Torah books, Bibles, scrolls, benchers, Torah mantles/sashes, and any items that may have been in direct contact with a Torah scroll. Maintaining a Genizah is a responsibility that Hillside takes great pride in, and we ask that those in our community respect the sacredness of the objects intended for burial by refraining from donating items that do not fall into this sacred category. Hillside is unable to accept any materials that have not been properly sorted prior to drop off.

Hillside ACCEPTS the following from individuals or congregations:

  • Hillside’s Genizah donations must be over-used holy books and pamphlets that have G-d’s name written in Hebrew present on the page. Torah books and prayer books that are lightly used should be donated to a secondhand Jewish bookstore, NOT the Hillside Genizah.
  • Genizah donations must be placed in new, clean boxes or plastic crates that do not exceed 2’x2’ and do not weight more than 20 pounds.
  • Loose-leaf papers (i.e. school work, homework, tests, etc.) that have G-d’s name written in Hebrew are NOT accepted at this time.
  • The Hillside Genizah is NOT a depository for personal items such as calendars, newspapers, solicitations, and magazines. It is not respectful to mix these items with sacred materials.
  • The Hillside Genizah does not accept the following items at this time: kipot, audio-visual materials, CDs, pictures, tallit, tzitzit, and tallit bags.

Hillside is UNABLE TO ACCEPT the following: 

  • Loose pages from the printer or photocopy machine are intended to be temporary and do not need to be buried.
  • Secular books which reference G-d’s name; please note that 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 G-d’s name or G-d’s name written in the vernacular.
  • Books prepared by non-Jews for non-Jewish religious use (such as the King James Bible) are not sanctified, and may be discarded, despite the presence of Jewish material therein.

Please sort through sacred materials prior to drop off.

At this time, Hillside is only able to accept a maximum of two boxes no larger than 12 x 10 x 15 each. 

All sacred material must be put into a new, clean cardboard box.

Please do not put anything in plastic, as it is not biodegradable.

Please note, the Genizah is not a depository for personal items, personal mail, calendars, newspapers, solicitations, magazines or school workbooks. It is not respectful to mix these items with sacred materials. Items such as kippot, audio/visual materials, computer disks, diagrams or pictures without text or newspapers that do not contain sections of Torah do not need to be brought to the Genizah.

There are other items which 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 items should be disposed of in a respectful manner. For example, wrapped in paper or plastic before being placed in the trash.