On February 26th, 2017, the greater Philadelphia community was shocked and saddened by the news that 275 headstones had been knocked over in a recent incident of vandalism at Mt. Carmel Cemetery. The week the news was announced, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, bolstered by hundreds of volunteers and support from donors across the world, began a months-long effort to repair each stone that had been damaged.

The Jewish Federation is proud to share that the vandalized headstones have now been fully repaired and the installation of new security measures, including new iron and chain link fencing, is underway.

Since receiving the news in February, we have:

Repaired and restored 503 headstones: 275 of the stones were knocked down due to vandalism, and 228 additional monuments in the area were deemed unstable and restored by the Jewish Federation. It took on average 105 minutes to repair and reset a single monument, and the average weight was 1,600 pounds. The maximum weight was 4,400 pounds.

Secured more than $260,000 from 2,984 gifts for our Mt. Carmel Cemetery project. The total cost to repair the toppled and unstable stones totaled $145,000. Remaining funds were used for replacing the fences, filling holes around the restored stones, removing invasive weeds, and supplies.

Connected over 300 volunteers with hands-on opportunities to cleanup, repair and document the damage to Mt. Carmel Cemetery. The National Parks Service helped guide the restoration process and aided in the hiring of Joe Ferrannini at Grave Stone Matters to oversee the stonemasonā€™s restoration work. 12 professional masons worked on the project.

Organized a Stand Against Hate on Independence Mall to ensure our voices are heard as we condemn all acts of hatred and violence and reinforce our belief in the power of peace. Over 5,000 community members — including many clergy and elected officials — used words and songs to condemn violence and carry a message of peace.


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