Attack on Mount Carmel Cemetery in Northeast Philadelphia

Update on Mount Carmel Cemetery: Call to Action (posted February 28, 2017 at 3:40 PM)

The Jewish Community Relations Council, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, and other community groups are organizing a gathering of support in response to the desecration of Mount Carmel Cemetery. The event, called “Stand Against Hate,” will take place Thursday, March 2, at 12:00 Noon at Independence Mall, 599 Market Street. All are welcome. Many people, perhaps 10,000 or more, are expected. So, allow plenty of time to get there and consider taking mass transit.

The program will consist of brief remarks, singing, and a few readings; it should last about an hour. The content will be appropriate for children of all ages. Please feel free to share this information on social media and elsewhere.

Regarding assisting in the clean-up effort at the cemetery, there has been such an outpouring of support that all of the volunteer slots for this week have been filled. People are asked not to enter the cemetery unless they are part of an approved volunteer clean-up group, as the cemetery remains an active crime scene.

Lastly, the Jewish Federation is collecting funds on behalf of Mt. Carmel Cemetery. Any donations received that exceed restoration costs will be used to address the growing security needs of our Jewish communities. We encourage DJOP supporters to make a contribution; visit www.jewishphilly.org/donate-now-mt-carmel-cemetery#.

Please feel free to share this information on social media and elsewhere.

Original Post:

Tragically, a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia’s Wissinoming section (Northeast Philadelphia), Mount Carmel Cemetery, was desecrated overnight Saturday. Philadelphia Police detectives reported that 75 to 100 headstones had been knocked over, although a rabbi at the cemetery said he counted more than 500 Jewish grave sites vandalized. The attack is similar to an attack at Chesed Shel Emeth Society cemetery in suburban St. Louis that occurred last weekend. In that attack, perpetrators knocked over 154 headstones.

Rabbi Beth Kalisch of Beth David Reform Congregation in Gladwyne wrote in an email to congregants, “This news is especially distressing following the desecration of the Jewish cemetery near St. Louis last week, the vandalism of a synagogue in Northeast Philly earlier this winter, and a rise in anti-Semitic incidents throughout our country.”

Mount Carmel Cemetery (Michael Bryant, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Photographer)

The staff of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Philadelphia is developing a coordinated Jewish community response to the cemetery desecration. In the meantime, Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia is collecting donations to help defray costs of the repair. Please consider making a donation; the link is www.jewishphilly.org/donate-now-mt-carmel-cemetery#.

For more information about the attack, see the articles on Philly.com‘s (Inquirer) website: www.philly.com/philly/news/Cops-Report-of-vandalism-at-Jewish-cemetery.html, and Philly Voice’s website: www.phillyvoice.com/police-vandals-strike-gravesites-mount-carmel-jewish-cemetery/.