Desecration at Jewish CemeteryDate: March 21, 2012
At the outer edge of The Hebrew Cemetery in Newark, NJ large sections of the rusting fence are missing and many broken tombstones lay strewn around. These remnants of a once vibrant Jewish community now lay sadly in utter neglect.
This cemetery was founded by the Landsmanshaftn -- or Jewish aid societies -- of Newark that were comprised of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who came to the United States from 1880 to the 1920's. Landsmanshaftn assumed the responsibility to help their brethren who left the shtetle in Europe to settle in the America. They were widely known for assisting the sick and providing burial plots for those in the Jewish community in need.
The Landsmanshaftn were very active in the flourishing Jewish community in Newark. In fact, it is estimated that the Jewish population there peaked at around 75,000 in the 1930's. Today, however, the area is known for its dangerously high crime rate and few venture out to the cemeteries in this area without police protection.
Welco Realty is probably to blame for the desecration of these ageing tombstones. This Company planned a mega redevelopment project in the area and proposed building a 140,000 square foot Blue Ribbon Shopping Square center. Plans for the proposed project were in full swing and the area was razed, as was the outer edge of the Hebrew Cemetery. Reports indicate that the redeveloping project failed and thus there is nobody to take responsibility for the damage done to the cemetery.
Jewish community leaders are deeply upset about this and the issue was brought to Misaskim's attention. Misaskim is now probing further to find out who bears the responsibility of wrecking the cemetery -- a symbol of Jewish community organizations that flourished there for over a half a century.