A Jewish cemetery that was badly damaged by vandals earlier this year has been fully restored thanks to a huge outpouring from the community.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia gave the first tour of the recently restored Mt. Carmel Cemetery on 5722 Frankford Avenue to Mayor Jim Kenney on Tuesday.
In February, vandals knocked over 275 headstones at the cemetery and destabilized 225. Restoring the stones was a challenging task. Some of the downed stones had level bases and took just over an hour to fix while others had uneven bases which required both the base and the headstone to be lifted out for repair.
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Most stones weighed anywhere from 1,000 to 4,500 pounds each. Up to 300 volunteers helped repair the vandalized burial grounds.
“The massive outpouring of support we’ve received from the city of Philadelphia and from communities across the world has been truly astonishing,” said Jewish Federation President & CEO Naomi Adler.
The total cost of repair for the cemetery was over $145,000, but nearly 3,000 people across the world contributed donations totaling over $288,000 to the cause.
“Many of our urban cemeteries have been left behind and are in need of repair," said Jewish Federation Director of Community Engagement Addie Klein. "It likely took just minutes for the vandals to knock these headstones over, but the repairs took a dedicated team of trained professionals many weeks. We hope that our work at Mt. Carmel will raise awareness to ensure that these burial grounds remain a peaceful and safe space for families and their loved ones."
The cemetery dates all the way back to 1915. The Jewish Federation donation fund is still open for those wishing to donate for remaining repairs and restoration here.