03/03/2017

Jewish Cemeteries Need Our Support

Tags: Cemetery, Federation

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The recent vandalism of the Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Rochester saddened communities across the country. As we band together in support of our fellow communities we are reminded that our Jewish cemeteries need support not only in times of crisis but also 365 days per year.

Many of Cleveland’s older Jewish cemeteries are located in areas where the Jewish community no longer lives and synagogues no longer exist. In 1993, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland created the Commission on Cemetery Preservation (COCP), which at the time, supported the care of two cemeteries that were no longer connected to a synagogue.

Today, the COCP, a supporting foundation of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, manages seven Jewish cemeteries and over 15,000 total graves. Please join us in caring for these cemeteries.

The improvement process has begun with tree removal, stone resetting, landscaping, repair of damaged fencing, and installation of security lighting thanks to the hiring of a full-time Cemetery Manager who works with an oversight committee to design and implement appropriate maintenance plans that ensure ongoing care of the cemeteries. In addition, we work with neighborhoods adjacent to the cemeteries to ensure strong relationships are being built between communities.

In the past year, our community has come together to raise just over $3.1 million for the Cemetery Preservation Campaign. We have only $400,000 left to reach our $3.5 million goal to ensure the dignified maintenance and sustainability of the cemeteries under the COCP’s management.

Caring for these cemeteries is one of the highest mitzvot we can achieve, as those who are no longer with us cannot express gratitude. We care for their graves as a way of honoring the past, while uniting the present, and strengthening the future.

With your support, we will achieve our goal and continue the legacy of our great community and the Jewish people: Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Ba-Zeh, all Jews are responsible for each other.

Please join us,

Reneé Chelm and Harley I. Gross
Cemetery Preservation Campaign Co-Chairs

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