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Hartford comes together to repair and rededicate a vandalized Jewish cemetery

 

Greater Hartford community leaders gathered on Wednesday morning, June 29, to rededicate Dreyfus Lodge Cemetery, which was vandalized over the winter and repaired through a joint effort of several interfaith and civic organizations. This past January, 20 headstones were tipped over at the cemetery, located within Zion Hill Cemetery in Hartford’s Frog Hollow neighborhood. That same week, 15 headstones were damaged at the Congregation Ados Israel cemetery, also within Zion Hill Cemetery.

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Henry Zachs (left) and Rabbi Philip Lazowski survey the newly repaired headstones at Dreyfus Lodge Cemetery in Hartford.

“Dreyfus Lodge was a Jewish fraternal organization overseen by the Independent Order B’rith Shalom – whose name means ‘Covenant of Peace,’” noted Howard Sovronsky, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford. “Members met twice a month in locations all over Hartford, including Central Row and Main and Pleasant Streets. The individuals whose headstones were compromised were real people with real stories and ties to this Jewish community.”

Stones at the Dreyfus Lodge Cemetery – administered by the Federation’s Association of Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Hartford – were repaired in an inspiring show of support from a variety of sources that included the Association, the Federation, the Hartford Police Italian Officers Association, the First Congregational Church of East Hartford and individual contributors. Congregation Ados Israel owns its cemetery.

The Zion Hill cemetery has been the repeated target of vandalism over the years; other incidents took place in 1967, 1985, 1990, 2000 and 2005. And in 2012, another Hartford Jewish cemetery – Tower Avenue Cemetery – was vandalized.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, attendees placed a stone on each grave.

CAP: At the June 29 rededication: (l to r) Lt. Paul Cicero, Hartford Police Italian Officers Association; Pastor Kelly Jane Forbush, First Congregational Church of East Hartford; Rabbi Philip Lazowski, rabbi emeritus, Beth Hillel Synagogue, Bloomfield; Howard Sovronsky, president/CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford; Deputy Chief Brian Foley, Hartford Police Department; Henry Zachs, co-chair, Association of Jewish Cemeteries; and Eric Zachs, chair, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford.

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