Letter from the Executive Director
As summer dawns, we hope for a season of profound change, in the trajectory of the pandemic and the hardships it places on many, in our country’s challenges with racial inequality, in the economy and more.
Jewish Cemeteries has two Workum Interns this summer: Sam Ruskin and Brooke Goldwasser. Their summer project includes helping to digitize our archival materials to help improve our internal records and ensure that researchers can access that information in the future.
We discussed the current situation in the world recently and I noted, for their benefit and mine, that our work helping to provide comfort to families in mourning and helping to preserve and memorialize the legacies of their loved ones makes a difference in the world. And while there is a darkness in the world, the intention (Kavanah) we bring to our work can be a light to the world.
For example, we find meaning in honoring our veterans. We recently flagged over 500 graves in the Montgomery Cemetery and marked and flagged additional veterans’ graves in our Walnut Hills cemetery, in preparation for Memorial Day. Our Veterans Recognition Project was featured on WCPO!
Jewish Cemeteries recently launch a Facebook page to highlight some of this type of work and our first month of posts featured veterans – men and women – who proudly served our nation. You can find those posts on our Facebook page or, if you do not use Facebook, you can find them on our website, here.
And the work we are doing – with much remaining – repairing older monuments, is vital to our mission, as well. Learn more in this excellent profile of that work. Board members deserve much credit for sharing these projects with the greater community and helping to raise our profile.
In the last few months, we have lost so many cherished members of our community, including one of our Guardians, Wilbur Cohen, and his brother Philip T. Cohen. Wilbur’s (and his wife Miriam’s) video for the Legacy Flame will ensure his legacy will live on and his life will be an inspiration to generations.
While we have been relatively fortunate in Cincinnati to not have experiences the number of fatalities as many other cities from Covid-19, we have deep appreciation for the work of colleagues in those cities that have been hardest hit. Andrew Parver works for the Hebrew Free Burial Association in New York City and he provided this insight into his experiences there in recent weeks.
Finally, we are grateful to Rabbi Marcus Crystal for his regular history column. This one is on the early days of Jewry in the Queen City, leading up to the establishment of the Chestnut Street Cemetery. Amazing plans are underway for commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the cemetery and of Jewish communal life in Cincinnati. Stay tuned for announcements of our plans and events.
In the meantime, be well and stay safe!
In service of our mission,