Lottery money has been donated to restore Albany Hebrew Cemetery in the greater Oregon area. Located on the southwest corner of Waverly Memorial Park, the cemetery has been renovated using grants and lottery dollars. The Burial Society has installed handicap-accessible pathways and new kiosk signage.
A week after a hoax bomb threat was discovered at Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in Philadelphia, the FBI is investigating an incident at another Jewish cemetery in the city. Officials have not disclosed a motive. However, the Anti-Defamation League is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
At least 170 headstones were damaged in the incident over the weekend, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Several groups have pledged their support to fix the damage, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 98, which is restoring additional lighting to the cemetery, and the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council.
Earlier this month, dozens of Jewish community centers across the United States and Canada received bomb threats. Those incidents have been classified as part of a new wave of violence against Jewish day schools and organizations. In one Canadian province, there have been at least 90 incidents since the beginning of the year.
While the FBI is investigating the incident at the Philadelphia cemetery, a group of religious leaders is working to repair the harm caused. They agreed to work together at an interfaith meeting in Philadelphia. Members of the group include Vice President Mike Pence and civil rights activist Linda Sarsour. Some of the group members have been involved with the Friends of Jewish Cemeteries project, which raised more than $15,000 toward a $20,000 goal to fund a pilot program.
As an added incentive, the Anti-Defamation League is also offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads authorities to the person or people responsible. Meanwhile, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia has offered to use the Har Nebo cemetery as a model for other cemeteries.
The Philadelphia police have not yet made an arrest or determined a motive. However, the FBI is investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. The cemetery, located in the Oxford Circle neighborhood, is enclosed by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. It is surrounded by working-class homes, and it is not a perceived target for vandalism.
One of the earliest Jewish cemeteries in the United States, Har Nebo was established in 1890 on a brick factory site in the Oxford Circle neighborhood. Although it is not a traditional Jewish cemetery, it is the final resting place for several Jewish families from the area.
Since the restoration of Mount Carmel Cemetery in 2017, the Friends of Jewish Cemeteries project has worked to raise money to help other Jewish cemeteries in need. The project’s goal is to raise at least $20,000. So far, more than 150 people have donated, bringing the fundraiser up to more than seven times its original goal. There is a crowdfunding campaign that will continue collecting donations until it reaches the goal.