Founded in 1851, the cemetery soon became the Hebrew Charitable Burial Association; a resting place for Boston's poorest immigrant Jews who were unable to afford cemetery plots in congregational cemeteries. Many of these were buried in unmarked graves and the cemetery was eventually renamed the Malden Free Burying Ground.
Between 1880 and 1920, thousands of newly arrived Jewish immigrants came through the port of Boston seeking a new life. Unfortunately for some, that hope was dashed due to illness and the lack of advanced medical care we have today.
There are over 1,400 decedents resting at the Maplewood Cemetery. 760 of them are children under the age of one and 679 between the ages of one to 20 years of age. Truly these are the forgotten Jewish children of Boston.
Over the years the cemetery passed hands through several other groups who tried their best to maintain the cemetery but it was very difficult to find successive management. In 1949 the Jewish War Vets, Malden Post #74 took it upon themselves to care for the one-acre parcel of Jewish cemetery land, but found it difficult to maintain without funds.
Finally, in 1990 the Jewish War Veterans came to JCAM and asked us to take over the care of this all but forgotten Jewish cemetery. There was no endowment, no assets, only the liability of its annual maintenance. Nevertheless, JCAM since its inception in 1984 never forgot its sacred mission: Never allow a Jewish cemetery to be abandoned in Massachusetts. This propelled us into accepting the responsibility of caring for these forgotten Jews-most of whom are children.
Immigrants Arriving on the "Carmenia," 1923
Today there are no burials taking place as the cemetery is filled to capacity. The cemetery stands as an historical Boston Jewish landmark. JCAM will be installing a memorial and a children's garden in memory of these poor Jewish families and their children as a way of saying, "We have not forgotten you."
Help us to carry on our mission of "Chevrat Kvod Hamet" (guardians of the dead). Please send donations for this effort to our offices: JCAM Charitable Foundation - Maplewood; 189 Wells Ave. Newton, MA 02459.
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