Much-loved United Synagogue burial chief dies

The Chief Rabbi has paid tribute to Melvyn Hartog


Melvyn Hartog (Photo: United Synagogue Burial Society)

Melvyn Hartog, who headed the United Synagogue’s burial society for 23 years, has died.

Hundreds have paid tribute to Hartog on social media since his death was announced on Sunday. 

Leading the tributes to Hartog, who was in his 70s, was Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

Rabbi Mirvis said: “I was deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Melvyn Hartog, one of the finest people I have ever known.”

He paid tribute to Hartog in a post on Twitter/X.

He wrote: “A warm-hearted, humorous and compassionate mensch, Melvyn’s selflessness and generosity of spirit knew no bounds. As Head of the United Synagogue Burial Society for 23 years, he brought comfort, reassurance and consolation to thousands of people and was an extraordinary beacon of light and inspiration to us all.

“We wish Arichut Yamim to his wife Marilyn, his daughters Laura and Deborah, his siblings and all the family. Yehi Zichro Baruch.”

The United Synagogue said it was devastated to share the news that Melvyn Hartog had passed away after a short illness.

The President, Michael Goldstein, said: "Melvyn was a larger-than-life character who put his heart and soul into helping families at the most difficult and delicate times of their life.

“He led the United Synagogue Burial Society with distinction over 23 years and together with the Burial team, always went above and beyond to help in any way he could.

He spoke to communities regularly about the work of the Burial Society through a challenging session called ‘Talking About Death Won't Kill You’, to encourage loved ones to make arrangements should the worst happen.

Goldstein said: “As a result, countless families were better prepared. He was a champion of the selfless volunteers of the Chevra Kadisha and of the Essex Jewish community. He leaves an irreplaceable gap and will be sorely missed.”

He is survived by his wife Marilyn, his daughters Laura and Deborah, and his siblings.

The US said it would “find an appropriate way to commemorate Melvyn's life and achievements in due course."

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