Hebrew Free Burial Association

  • Hebrew Free Burial Association

The Hebrew Free Burial Association began in the 1880s as a free burial society serving the residents of Manhattan’s Lower East Side and was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1889. As the need grew in adjacent Jewish communities, HFBA also grew to serve the broader metropolitan area of New York City. HFBA is currently the largest free burial society outside of Israel.


Although as a community, Jews have successfully created many organizations dedicated to helping the unfortunate among us deal with crises of living, HFBA is unique in that it cares for impoverished, marginalized Jews after death. Typically, an indigent person in New York City is buried in an anonymous mass grave in Potter’s Field after lying in a morgue, potentially for many months. HFBA, through its contacts with city and social service agencies, is notified about Jewish decedents and makes arrangements so that every Jew receives a prompt, dignified Jewish funeral and burial.


Our clients have primarily come from among the impoverished, from the margins of society, or from immigrant communities. Early in our history, they were victims of disease epidemics, occupationally hazardous conditions, poor medical care, lack of proper sanitary conditions, and high infant and mother mortality rates. In its annual report from 1900, HFBA’s directors wrote, “What little they may have had quickly vanished for doctor’s services and medicines, and even their belongings were pawned by them to obtain the wherewithal to save their loved one from the grim monster death.”

Contact Information


Unit 5B, 125 Maiden Ln,
New York, NY 10038, USA






Hebrew Free Burial Association