Who We Are
Philadelphia is the proud home of around 20 historic Jewish cemeteries. Sadly, many of them are in shambles from fallen headstones, maintenance issues and unstable ground that make them unsafe to visit. These extreme states of disrepair require support beyond short-term clean-ups.
The Friends of Jewish Cemeteries is a special initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia to find long-term solutions to repair our region’s Jewish cemeteries and reconnect our community to its deep local roots. We are a group of volunteers with a shared passion who have come together to explore viable ways to secure these sacred places.
Cemetery Restoration Pilot Project
As its first project, the Friends of Jewish Cemeteries will focus on Har Nebo in the Northeast, one of the region’s oldest and largest cemeteries. The group’s initial effort will be the professional restoration of 10 to 20 graves at Har Nebo, reflecting the most common problems encountered at mature cemeteries. Our FAQ page has more details.
The process will be documented for use in a multimedia how-to guide that will be available to others addressing similar challenges, including descendants of those buried at other local historic cemeteries, family genealogists and communities of all faiths.
The goals of the project are:
- raise awareness of the preservation needs of historic cemeteries;
- road-test a viable plan to improve conditions;
- establish a fund to support restoration and preservation work;
- identify and train local young people in sound preservation practices; and
- inspire a wider community to pursue similar activities through education about best practices.
- Support our efforts by making a gift!
- Volunteer for genealogy research and connection with descendants, documentation of the restoration, and other at-home and on-site activities by signing up for our mailing list!