Expansion of Penn Forest Natural Burial Jewish Grove

We have important updates about  the Jewish Burial Grove at Penn Forest Natural Burial Park. Please share this information with individuals who may be interested. 

  • Sanctified for Jewish Burial by Rabbi Stephen E. Steindel.
  • Woodland natural burial among our trees.
  • Located in Verona PA—13-miles from downtown Pittsburgh.
  • No burial vaults used.
  • Only biodegradable coffins or shrouds allowed.
  • Currently adding 112 additional grave sites.
  • Time payment plans available.
  • No extra fees for Sunday burials.
  • Tents and chairs provided for graveside services at no extra cost.
  • We work with all funeral homes.
  • We honor all Jewish burial practices.

Call 412-265-4606 for tour appointments or other information or email Laura at PennForestCemetery.com.

All prices on our website: www.PennForestCemetery.com/pricing.

Thank You For Your Review: Jim’s Perspective on Green Burial

We received this email from Jim Greenberg in March. He gave us permission to post it here. Linda was buried March 15th.

Hi, Pete,

My family and I would like to thank you and your staff for helping to make our final moments with Linda beautiful and as stress-free as possible. I have posted the following review of Penn Forest on the Yelp website:

This is not a classic cemetery in that it lacks vertical headstones and mausoleums. Natural (“green”) burial is the rule. Bodies are not embalmed or preserved and are usually buried shortly after death in a shroud or natural casket. The concept of green burial is based on the biblical concept, “You were made of the earth and to the earth shall you return.” That is, once the soul and spirit of the individual have left the physical body, the components of the body should return into the earth as quickly as possible in order to maintain the flow of nature. The property is quite large and beautiful with woods, meadows, and a variety of other settings to choose from for your loved one. We walked around with the proprietor until we found a spot we liked at the edge of the woods with views of the meadow. There are a limited number of cemeteries that are in sync with the green burial movement, and we are fortunate to have Penn Forest in Pittsburgh.

I will be in touch soon (as this crappy weather disappears); there is Death Café in April. Many of the guests were impressed positively with this kind of interment and graveside ceremony.

Warmest regards,


p.s. – If any potential clients want to talk to someone who’s been there, feel free to pass along my contact information.

We appreciate all of your kind words and reviews. If you’d like to leave a review for Penn Forest, you can find us here:



Our website

Departure Directions: Taking Charge of Your Final Arrangements

Have you written your Departure Directions and given them to your family? If you have and they include Penn Forest, we’d love to have a copy to put in your file. That way we’ll know your wishes at your time of death and we’ll be ready to help pass them on to your funeral arrangers. Note: you do not need to have a pre-paid account to have a file. You can set up a file with us at any time. 

Departure Directions is the term for your written instructions or guidelines—determined by your values, beliefs and priorities—for how you wish to be cared for and remembered after you die (your after-death care). It includes how your body will be cared for and by whom, how you will be laid to rest, who you would like to involve, and what rituals, if any, will be carried out.

Departure Directions can also address things like what name you and  pronouns should be used in your preferred rituals, as well how your body should be dressed or garbed. You can also designate who will have the final decision for your arrangements. 

Begin your own exploration by contemplating one or more of these questions:

  1. Reflect on a death ritual you attended and consider what was great about it and how it impacted you.
  2. Reflect on three-to-five core values that guide the way you live and think about how they can guide the way you are cared for after you die.
  3. How would you explain your beliefs about what happens to you when you die?

Pennsylvania — Yes, designated agent law (click here to download the form). Pennsylvania Statute, Title 20, Chapter 3, Subsection 305, gives citizens the right to make a “statement of contrary intent” that will override the next-of-kin’s usual authority and let the citizen designate whom he wants to control the disposition of his body. Click here to search the Pennsylvania statutes.

Please contact us to discuss further. 

‘Treemation’ Offers The Chance To Be A Tree

“I wanna be a tree.” Treemation, cremation, trees

Ever since Penn Forest opened in 2011, people have asked us if we could plant a tree on a family member’s grave. Because trees are bigger than the 4’x8’ footprint of our full body graves, we can’t plant trees precisely on specific graves. Instead, every year in October we offer a memorial tree-planting event where people can plant trees near their loved-one’s grave. 

But in addition to traditional green burial, we offer options to disperse cremated remains as well. 

So how about planting a tree on a cremated remains grave? Up until now the problem with that has been that we need to precisely locate the grave’s latitude and longitude so we can enter it into our cemetery records. That would have meant hiring a surveyor to come out and locate each grave/tree, which is obviously cost-prohibitive.

But now a new kind of GPS system is available, which provides surveyor accurate locations (within a cm). We are in the process of obtaining that system.

So, would you be interested planting a small tree or shrub on top of a loved-one’s cremated remains and watching the tree grow? We are now offering that service at Penn Forest, and we call it, Treemation. In this way, you can honor a loved one and help Penn Forest with our forestry work. These trees can last for years, and each time you visit Penn Forest you can see how your tree is growing. You can even include an engraved stone marker next to the tree. 

For more information, contact Laura Faessel (laura@pennforestcemetery.com).