"By paying tribute to those who came before us, we dignify our lives too. They are a part of us, we are a part of them... and the covenant passes from generation to generation."
JCAM's rededication on Sept. 22, 2013 of the Hebrew Charitable Burial Ground in Malden -- the second oldest Jewish cemetery in Massachusetts (1851) -- restored more than just a dilapidated property, it restored the memory of more than a thousand souls, mostly children, who were once "the forgotten" in Massachusetts Jewish history. No more. The Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts restored to dignity the final resting place for more than 1,400, most of whom were less than five-years-old when they died.
The immigrant children were mostly victims of common childhood diseases. Today, because of medical advances and inoculations, diseases such as measles, mumps, influenza, or whooping cough to name a few, have largely been eradicated.
JCAM's "brick-by-brick" campaign has provided small, but permanent markers for the many who were buried without them, without any recognition, without dignity. The restoration of this little cemetery in the heart of the "old" Jewish communities around the Mystic River culminated in a rededication reported here.
The outpouring of kindness and interest in this "mitzvah" project from the community has been wonderful, but we still are far from our goal of ensuring each forgotten child will have a memorial brick inscribed with their name.
One can still sponsor a forgotten child: choose a name to be inscribed by clicking here to view the list of names, or have us choose a name for you at random. Donations can be made online at our Web site, or you can download a Brick-By-Brick donation form and mail it in with your contribution.
Your donation of $118 per brick ensures that a child resting in an unmarked grave will be forever memorialized. Their name will be inscribed on a brick that will line the walkway of this historic cemetery leading to a children's memorial garden. This act of loving-kindness dignifies the life of a forgotten child and helps us restore this once abandoned Jewish cemetery.
Please also read the story here from coverage in The Jewish Advocate. Also watch the interview by Rabbi Ronne Friedman (Temple Israel in Boston) on the Ch. 7 Sunday show "Jewish Perspectives" regarding this restoration project.
Remembering 1,400 Jewish Souls...
In June 2015 the Malden Historical Society (above) visited the Hebrew Charitable Burial Ground on Lebanon Street in Malden for JCAM’s Cemeteries Are for the Living educational tour. More than 30 residents, including Mayor Gary Christenson, attended the event, led by Lisa Berenson, JCAM’s Director of Educational Programming. The group learned of the history of the historic cemetery and made stops along the way to learn about Jewish cemetery and burial customs, headstone iconography explanations and Jewish mourning customs. Read More...