At the Jewish cemetery along Wangari Maathai Road, trees swayed to the sides in utmost obedience to the wind, oblivious of the melodrama surrounding the death of the man they are about to receive. Tob Cohen, the Dutch businessman whose body was discovered in a septic tank in his own compound will find eternal rest in these grounds where hundreds of his racial kin are reposing.
It is unclear if the widow Sarah Wairimu will attend the burial since her application to witness his final send-off will be heard tomorrow morning.
Through her lawyer, Wairimu had asked the court to issue an order to compel Lang’ata Women’s Prison where she is being held to allow her to attend the burial at 1.30 pm.
Door number 184
In his life, the happier times, Cohen had marked the very spot his remains will be interred in line with Judaist customs and traditions. At the cemetery, the spot is marked number 184, his final number under the sun.
“There will be no viewing of the body, no opening of the casket at the funeral. The body is not buried in suits but wrapped in white clothing”, a source at the Jewish Synagogue in Nairobi, told the Sunday Standard.
When the ceremony begins tomorrow, it will be a strictly private family affair.
An agreement issued last week stated as much: “The burial ceremony will be private and for family members only. Sarah and Gabrielle will participate as widow and sister respectively,” the joint statement from lawyers Philip Murgor and Cliff Ombeta said.
When the few family members gather at the grounds led by his brother Bernard - his sister Gabrielle flew out yesterday - there will be no greetings until after Cohen’s casket goes down.
Before that, the family members will have to make special and ritualistic tear on their outer garments. If Cohen’s parents were to be in attendance, they would tear the left side of their garments, just above the heart.
Bernard, and any other siblings will, however, make their small hardly noticeable tears on the right side of their garments.
These are the Jewish traditions of sending off their loved ones.
According to a source, the service will begin with prayers and biblical passages followed by the reading of the eulogy.
There will be chanting of prayers then the casket will be taken to the graveside slowly in acknowledgment of the long journey ahead.
The mourners in such ceremonies are required to dress in black and dress modestly to show respect to the deceased. No music is allowed during the occasion.
“Sometimes the immediate family pay their final respects before the funeral. In Israel, caskets are not used at all, with the exception of military and state funerals.
Instead, the body is carried to the grave wrapped in a tallit and placed directly in the earth,” a source at the Jewish synagogue said.