By 1878, the Old Jewish Burial Grounds were full and the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation began purchasing the land now known as the Flats. Another group from the Ahavath Achim Synagogue purchased plots in the area from the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation, distinctly recognizable by the close spacing of headstones that mark the Ahavath Achim graves.
Several years ago great efforts were made to begin restoring the area belonging to the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation after successful fundraising efforts were made by that group. About half of the area was beautifully restored and landscaped initially, and now Historic Oakland Foundation’s PRO Team is working to complete the remaining lots. The entire project has been made possible by matching grants from The Rich Foundation and generous gifts from individuals and other organizations.
By the late fall of 2015, Historic Oakland Foundation completed hardscape restoration – leveling marble coping and headstones, repairing broken monuments, restoring brick walkways, and carefully cleaning all the masonry elements – and will await landscape improvements which will complete the project. The Preservation, Restoration, and Operations (PRO) Team then turned its focus to the next part of the Jewish section, called Jewish Hill.
Phase I of the Jewish Hill restoration project is complete. This included resetting and leveling severely leaning monuments, rebuilding crumbling walls, and repairing badly damaged urns and tombstones. In 2017, the PRO Team is planning for a complete restoration of Phase II of Jewish Hill, which will include repair of walls and monuments on the western half of the section, as well as irrigation and restoration of brick pathways.
Thanks to generous contributions from The Rich Foundation and the Ida Alice Ryan Charitable Trust, HOF now has just $150,000 to raise in order to complete the restoration efforts at Jewish Hill. HOF is seeking support from public and private donors to reach that goal. With this additional funding, The PRO Team anticipates to complete hardscape and restoration and interpretive components within three years.
Your donation can help sustain Oakland Cemetery’s preservation efforts. To make a contribution, click here. Select your donation level or amount, and in the special purpose field, select “Jewish Section” from the dropdown menu. Complete your donation by clicking the “Donate Now” button.