A short time ago from a place far away, our parents and grandparents came to these shores. They came to escape the religious persecution they had known for centuries. They shared a dream. They would journey to a new land where all could make a new life for themselves and their children, free from the horrors of the past. They would come to America.
Through a combination of extraordinary hardship, determination and a little bit of “mazel” (luck), our Jewish forefathers journeyed to Boston by the thousands. Whole villages from the old country formed new communities in their adopted land. Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury, Chelsea, Malden and many other communities, became centers of Jewish life and culture. Soon roots were firmly implanted and Jewish tradition could be safely passed to a new generation.
Sound familiar? It’s just another chapter in the long history of the Jewish people. But this time, you and I are the new generation residing in the very land our recent ancestors pioneered for us. And so the journey goes on and on.
Our community’s story must be told again and again, lest we forget that many first generation Jews who immigrated to Boston now sleep in the dust. And our obligation to keep faith with them by preserving their dignity should be greater than ever before; for we are all the guardians of their memories. By dedicating ourselves to Jewish cemeteries, we are saying thank you. Thank you dear loved ones for everything you have done for us and our families. We will never abandon you. We will always care for you as you have cared for us. We will pass your memory from generation to generation – Midor l’ Dor.
Yet, looking to the past is not enough. For close to a decade now we have sponsored Jewish programs that educate our youth through cemetery tours. Literally, hundreds of young people and adults share our story of past, present and future. Continuity plays a key role here.
JCAM renews its solemn pledge to “honor thy father and thy mother” by keeping faith with those that sleep in the dust.
Together, let us rekindle our devotion to Jewish cemeteries as a tribute to our American Jewish ancestors.
JCAM Executive Director
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