13 August 2006

Set in stone

Cemeteries, in the American experience, are generally green and well-maintained.

In Eastern Europe, however, this may not be the case. Jewish cemeteries are desecrated, stones have sunk into the ground or looted for building materials. Others are in disrepair. In some places, non-Jews are being buried in Jewish cemeteries by municipal order because of space problems. (here's a JTA article about this alarming development: Burying Jewish dead in Belarus a problem after cemetery dispute)

Our ancestors are not resting as they deserve.

An important ICJG conference session will address the distressing conditions as well as some successes that have been achieved. The experts will discuss Jewish law issues; methods and procedures; and specific community projects. Panelists are:
  • Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich: Executive coordinator, Poland Jewish Cemeteries Restoration Project; executive director, Rabbinic Commission on Cemeteries.
  • Calman Lieberman, Jacob Gutman and Toby Mendlowitz Grunhut: Heritage Foundation for Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries.
  • Rabbi Shlomo Besser: Director, International Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Memorial Sites.
  • Herbert Block: Assistant executive vice president, Joint Distribution Committee.

  • Research director Samuel D. Gruber and volunteer Lee Seeman: U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad.
  • Norman Weisberg: Executive coordinator, Poland Jewish Cemeteries Restoration Project; and
  • Thomas Weiss, Professor Emeritus, MIT.

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