Get involved and join our mission to protect and maintain our historic Jewish cemeteries, creating a roadmap to sustain these sites for future generations.
Who We Are
Philadelphia is home to many historic Jewish cemeteries. Sadly, many of them are in disrepair, with broken and fallen headstones, years of neglect and unstable ground that make them unsafe to visit. These problems 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.
HAR NEBO CEMETERY PILOT PROJECT
As its first project, the Friends of Jewish Cemeteries undertook a pilot project at Har Nebo in the Northeast, one of the region’s oldest and largest cemeteries. The group’s initial effort was a professional restoration of a section of 33 graves, reflecting the most common problems encountered at mature cemeteries. Our FAQ has more details. Click here to see the pilot project location.
The process is 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 were:
- 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 for careers in preservation; and
- inspire a wider community to pursue similar activities through education about best practices.
To learn more about the Har Nebo Pilot Project findings, please click here to view the community report.
- “‘It Was A Little Jarring’: Project At Har Nebo Cemetery Restoring Gravestones And Peace For Loved Ones”
- “Cemetery Cleanup at Har Nebo Photo Roundup”
- “Resting in Dignity: Friends of Jewish Cemeteries Begin Work to Restore At-Risk Cemeteries”
- “Cemetery Restoration Pilot Project Underway”
- “Conserving Jewish cemeteries, one stone at a time”
- “Some much-needed upkeep at Har Nebo Cemetery”
ABOUT HAR NEBO
Founded in 1890, Har Nebo is the city’s oldest privately owned Jewish cemetery. Covering 28 acres in the Oxford Circle community of Northeast Philadelphia, it is the resting place of nearly 34,000 people and has few burial spaces remaining.
The Jewish Genealogical and Archival Society of Greater Philadelphia (JGASGP), in coordination with Har Nebo, has completed a valuable resource for genealogists—a comprehensive database of burials, searchable by surname or location.
- Support our efforts by making a gift!
- Sign up for a community-wide volunteer cemetery cleanup!
- 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!