Qriz village

Qriz is a village on the eastern slope of the Shahdagh mountains inhabited by a small ethnic group of Qriz people. According to the legend, Jewish populations found shelter in Qriz, as well as other high mountains around it, during the persecutions of Nadir Shah.

Cemetery at Jewish Street

On the site of the former Minsk ghetto, there was a place of execution of Jews, where at that time burials were transferred from the cemetery, which was located on the site of the present Dynamo stadium. The cemetery, which existed from 1868 to 1946, was closed at the beginning of the 1970s, and in 1990 it was completely liquidated in order to establish a park.

Image credit: The Together Plan – subject to copyright ©

Cemeteries of Congregation Shearith Israel

Shearith Israel was the only Jewish congregation in New York City from 1654 until 1825. During this entire span of history, all of the Jews of New York belonged to the congregation. Shearith Israel was founded by 23 Jews, mostly of Spanish and Portuguese origin. The earliest Jewish cemetery in the U.S. was recorded in 1656 in New Amsterdam where authorities granted the Shearith Israel Congregation “a little hook of land situated outside of this city for a burial place.” Its exact location is now unknown. The Congregation’s “second” cemetery, which is today known as the FIRST cemetery because it is the oldest surviving one, was purchased in 1683.

Today, this cemetery is a mere fragment of its original extent. Only about a hundred headstones and above ground tombs can still be seen in what remains of the old burial ground, which rises slightly above street level. It is the only remaining 17th century structure in Manhattan.

The second cemetery – now known as “New Bowery Cemetery”. Burials began here in 1805, in what was a much larger, square plot extending into what is now the street. The Commissioners’ Plan had established the city’s grid in 1811, but not until 1830 was West 11th Street cut through, at that time reducing the cemetery to its present tiny triangle. The disturbed plots were moved further uptown to the Third Cemetery on West 21st Street. In 1852 city law forbade burial within Manhattan, and subsequent interments have been made in Queens.

The third cemetery is between loft buildings and across the street from the School Of Visual Arts on West 21st St just off 6th Avenue is the Third Cemetery. This cemetery was adjacent to the congregation’s synagogue on 19th Street–built in 1860 and now long gone.

Congregation Shearith Israel

The Congregation Shearith Israel – often called The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue – is the oldest Jewish congregation in the United States. It was established in 1654 in New Amsterdam by Jews who arrived from Dutch Brazil. Until 1825, when Jewish immigrants from Germany established a congregation, it was the only Jewish congregation in New York City.

The Orthodox synagogue, which follows the Sephardic liturgy, is located on Central Park West at 70th Street, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The congregation has occupied its current Neoclassical building since 1897. 

The first group of Spanish and Portuguese Jews were twenty-three refugees from Dutch Brazil, who arrived in New Amsterdam in September 1654. After being initially rebuffed by anti-Semitic Director of New Netherland Peter Stuyvesant, Jews were given official permission to settle in the colony in 1655. This year marks the founding of the Congregation Shearith Israel. Although they were allowed to stay in New Amsterdam, they faced discrimination and were not given permission to worship in a public synagogue for some time (throughout the Dutch period and into the British). The Congregation did, however, make arrangements for a cemetery beginning in 1656.

It was not until 1730 that the Congregation was able to build a synagogue of its own; it was built on Mill Street (now William Street) in lower Manhattan. The Mill Street synagogue was said to have had access to a nearby spring which it used as a mikveh for ritual baths. Before 1730, as noted on a 1695 map of New York, the congregation worshipped in rented quarters on Beaver Street and subsequently on Mill Street. Since 1730 the Congregation has worshipped in five synagogue buildings; the current building was extensively refurbished in 1921.

As the American Reform Judaism made headway in the late 19th century, many rabbis critical of the Reform movement looked for ways to strengthen traditional synagogues. Shearith Israel, and its rabbi, Henry Pereira Mendes, were at the fore of these efforts. Rabbi Mendes cofounded the American Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in 1886, in order to train traditional rabbis. The school held its first classes at Shearith Israel. In JTS’ earliest days, it taught and researched rabbinics similarly as was done in traditional yeshivas, in contrast to the Reform Hebrew Union College.

Twelve years later, in 1896, Mendes was acting president of JTS. He promoted the formation of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (commonly known as the OU, the Orthodox Union). This synagogue umbrella group provided an alternative to the Reform movement’s Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

As JTS grew, it needed better financing and a full-time head. The seminary moved to its own building, and Mendes was replaced by Solomon Schechter. However, Schechter developed a less traditional approach, which became the basis for Conservative Judaism (called Masorti outside North America). Initially there was considerable cooperation between the Orthodox and Conservative groups but, over time, the divide became clearer.

Schechter formed the United Synagogue of America (now the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, or USCJ) to promote synagogue affiliation with his conservative ideology.

Shearith Israel remained aligned with the Orthodox tradition. It eventually repudiated its association with JTS. In a sense, Shearith Israel helped create three of the largest and most significant Jewish religious organizations in the United States: JTS, the OU, and USCJ. Shearith Israel remains a member only of the Orthodox Union.

Mount Herzl

Mount Herzl (Hebrew: הר הרצל‎), also Har HaZikaron (Hebrew: הר הזכרון‎ lit. “Mount of Remembrance”), is the site of Israel’s national cemetery and other memorial and educational facilities. It is found on the west side of Jerusalem beside Jerusalem Forest and named after Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern political Zionism. Herzl’s tomb lies at the top of the hill while Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, lies to the west of Mt. Herzl. Israeli fallen soldiers are also buried there. Mount Herzl is 834 meters above the sea. Every plot section in Mount Herzl has a broad plaza for memorial services. Most state memorial ceremonies for those killed at war are conducted in the National Military and Police cemetery.

Mount of Olives

The Mount of Olives is a mountain ridge east of and adjacent to Jerusalem’s Old City and was named after the olive groves that once covered its slopes. The southern part of the Mount was the Silwan necropolis, attributed to the ancient Judean Kingdom. The mount has been used as a Jewish cemetery for over 3,000 years and holds approximately 150,000 graves, making it central in the tradition of Jewish cemeteries. Several key events throughout Jesus’s life, as related in the Gospels, took place on the Mount of Olives. In the Acts of the Apostles, it is described as the place that Jesus ascended to heaven. Because of its association with both Jesus and Mary, the mount has been a Christian worship site since ancient times and is currently a major pilgrimage site for Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants. The top of the hill is occupied by At-Tur, a former village that is now a neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

Old Safed Cemetery

The Safed Old Jewish Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Israel. The cemetery has been used for hundreds of years as a burial place, including important people and important Jewish religious leaders. The cemetery is located along the western slope of Safed on the slope of Mount Canaan near the Amud River.

HaShomrim Cemetery

In 1936 The Hashomerim Association, also known as The Eretz Israel Guardians Association, established a cemetery for its members. Established in July 1933, The HaShomerim Association was a guard and labor organization that identified with the labor movement and fought for organized Jewish protection.