Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Jamaica: Documentation of Orange Street Cemetery Continues

Jamaica: Documentation of Orange Street Jewish Cemetery Continues

(ISJM) Architect and ISJM vice-president Rachel Frankel reports that she recently led a team of Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions (CVE) volunteers to continue documentation of the historic Orange Street Jewish Cemetery.   The group has previously worked at the 18th-century Hunt's Bay Cemetery. CVE began recording the Orange Street cemetery, the only Jewish one in Jamaica still receiving burials, in 2009. The team's goal for Orange Street is to document all burials through 1880, after which civil records exist.  The process is expected to take through 2014, since work only proceeds for a short period each year.  

This winter the research team also located the Jewish cemetery at Savannah La Mar where they discovered eight 18th century-gravestones, many tombstone fragments, a remnant brick wall, and terrain that suggests that a two acre cemetery once existed. 

Ms. Frankel, who previous has documented (with Aviva Ben-Ur) the Jewish cemeteries of  Jodensavanne in Suriname,  hopes to digitize and create a website of all the cemetery inventory materials.  Sponsors for this work are still needed.   Ainsley Cohen Henriques, Honorary Secretary of Shaare Shalom Congregation of Jamaica, under whose auspices the research team works, hopes to raise interest and funds to conserve and maintain the physical Jewish cemeteries. 

Volunteers on the project were  Lauren Stahl, Liz Lorris Ritter, Andree Brooks, Debra Klein and Chuck Young.  ISJM donated funds for basic equipment for this project.

Read more about work to document and preserve Jamaica's Jewish cemeteries here.

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