Business Spotlights

Business of the Week: Zion Memorial Chapel, Mamaroneck

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BOWZion Memorial Chapel is celebrating 20 years as Westchester County’s only full-service funeral home dedicated to the Jewish community exclusively.

Located on the Boston Post Road in Mamaroneck, the unique facility is managed by Jennifer Graziano, a licensed funeral director, who says she feels called to serve clients through all aspects of the funeral planning process, including estate planning and grief counseling.

“When a family comes to Zion Memorial, we walk with them all the way,” Jennifer said in a recent interview. “Our staff becomes personally involved.” And because it is a family business, Jennifer explained that when a client calls for help at 1 a.m., it will most likely be one of the owners who answers the phone. Directors are available 24-hours-a-day seven-days-a-week.

Jennifer was a teenager when her father, Vincent Graziano, started the business in 1996. At the time, he was the manager of an orthodox funeral home in Brooklyn – Shomrei Hadas Chapel. As a licensed funeral director, he was trained by the rabbis to operate by Jewish laws.

Because of the high cost of funerals and the lack of homes offering uniquely Jewish services, Victor decided to go off on his own to run a business committed to the Jewish religion and tradition. Most Jewish funeral homes are incorporated into or part of a larger Christian funeral home business. Zion Memorial Chapel is proud to share no conglomerate affiliation; the facility is separate, and not housed within a non-sectarian funeral home.

It was a challenge to open Zion Memorial Chapel in Westchester. Victor was concerned that he might be viewed as an outsider by the local Jewish community. He started small, investing his own money to keep the home running. But 20 years in business signifies success. With hard work and an overriding philosophy that a funeral is for the peace of mind of the living, combined with the dedication to accomplish just that, Zion Memorial Chapel became well known. Victor formed relationships with local rabbis and has worked closely with them and their member communities.

Zion Memorial Chapel also maintains a high quality of service, while keeping prices down, when compared to other kosher funeral homes, Jennifer added. “We have been approached by the conglomerates to join them, but we have maintained our independence.”

“When clients come through the door they immediately recognize the difference,” Jennifer said. “And once they have been here for one funeral, they usually always come back. We work closely with each family to celebrate the life of their loved one. Each person is unique and special.”

Zion Memorial staff walks families through all aspects of the funeral process, from what to do in preparation before a death, at the time of death, the service and burial and the grieving period that follows.

Jennifer grew up with the funeral business, but she went to college to pursue a degree in communications and later graduate school to become a lawyer. She brings her knowledge of legal affairs to the business and her calling to be of service to others helps create the compassionate environment that is Zion Memorial Chapel.

Also on the staff of Coxe & Graziano Funeral Homes in Mamaroneck and Greenwich, CT, Jennifer has become a recent radio star. While she would not say hosting a weekly radio show is a throw back to her earlier leanings toward a career in communications, Jennifer enjoys preparing for and doing the weekly shows, which she considers a service to the community. “The more people know about preparing for a death, the easier it is for them when the time comes to celebrate the life of a loved one,” she says.

“Time to Talk” is broadcast live every Wednesday 9:30 to 10 am on WGCH 1490 AM radio and 12 Noon on WVOX 1460 AM radio.

To those recovering from the loss of a loved one Zion Memorial Chapel advises:

Each of us experiences grief differently, depending on our coping style and life experiences.

The healing process happens gradually, and can’t be rushed or ignored.

It’s okay to cry…but it’s also okay if you find that you can’t. Crying is a normal response to sadness, but it’s not the only one.

There’s no set time frame for grieving, and different individuals may take different amounts of time to heal.

Allow yourself to face your feelings and express them. Try talking to a trusted friend or spiritual leader, joining a support group, or writing about your loss in a journal.

The mind and body are deeply connected. Though it may be hard at first, remember to take care of yourself physically so that you can allow yourself to begin to recover emotionally.

It’s always okay to seek professional help when you need to.

Zion Memorial Chapel is located at 785 E. Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck; 914-381-1809;

Personal appointments welcome. For those unable to travel to the funeral home, a director from Zion Memorial Chapel will come to your home.

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