We have posted in the past about threats to Jewish cemeteries in the United States that are similar to those in Europe: lack of resources, neglect; dwindling congregations, etc. (We posted in 2015 about an abandoned Jewish cemetery in a suburb of Philadelphia.)
The recent spate of cemetery desecrations in the U.S. has again put a further focus on these issues.
A news article in Philadelphia, where vandals this past week struck the Mount Carmel Jewish cemetery, examines how the vandalism highlights “a long history of decline” for the burial site.
With few new burials to generate income, a dwindling endowment, no map to its 8,000 plots, a deteriorated burial ledger, and an overseer who puts in only 15 hours a week, the Jewish cemetery founded nearly two centuries ago is not quite an “orphan” but it has long been down on its luck […]
At the five-acre Mount Carmel cemetery in the city’s Wissinoming section, people in the cemetery business and others say there has long been a low-grade desecration as teens party there, leaving behind beer bottles and other trash.
And over the years, vandals have periodically wreaked worse damage. […]
Many Jewish cemeteries in the Northeast like Mount Carmel are increasingly at risk, according to Amy Koplow of the Jewish Cemetery Association of North America.
“They’re fragile and the funding to maintain them is often very weak,” she said.
Once a cemetery stops adding graves and selling care, it largely stops collecting money. In some cities, such as New York and Cincinnati, groups have set up umbrella organizations that pool resources to care for troubled graveyards, she noted.