A community’s history is captured in part through its cemeteries. Cincinnati’s Jewish community will soon write a new historic chapter with the dedication of a new community cemetery, located on Loveland–Miamiville Road in Loveland, on Sunday, June 4 at 4:00 p.m. “This new community cemetery of 23 acres provides enough burial space to meet the community’s needs for at least the next 100 years,” stated Josh Shapiro, Board President of Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati (JCGC).
JCGC is a unique community organization that owns and manages 23 cemeteries. In the early 2000’s the leaders of these cemeteries became part of a working group formed to address common problems. This group included members of the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox communities, as well as representatives of the Jewish Foundation and Jewish Federation. The work of this group, supported by a generous commitment from the Jewish Foundation, ultimately resulted in the formation of JCGC. Putting all the Greater Cincinnati Jewish cemeteries under one roof starting in 2008 enabled them to address their most pressing needs: meeting the sustainability challenges they were all facing, and locating and purchasing land for a new cemetery to meet the growing demand for burials in Cincinnati’s Northeast Corridor.
Cincinnati’s Jewish cemeteries have a rich history. Chestnut Street opened in 1821 in the West End and is the oldest Jewish cemetery west of the Alleghenies. It closed in 1849 when the cholera epidemic filled it. United Jewish Cemeteries (UJC), jointly owned by Rockdale Temple and Isaac M. Wise Temple, was the largest organization to join JCGC when it started operating in 2008. It consisted of six Reform cemeteries in Greater Cincinnati. UJC was formed in 1854 to care for the Walnut Hills cemetery, which had been opened by Rockdale in 1850, following the closing of the Chestnut Street cemetery. The Clifton and Price Hill cemeteries, which opened in 1848 and 1855, respectively, became part of UJC when the congregations that created them merged with Wise Temple in 1931. The Hamilton cemetery also became part of UJC when the Hamilton congregation became affiliated with Wise in 1970. The Montgomery cemetery was dedicated in 1958 and is currently JCGC’s most active cemetery, accounting for approximately 50% of JCGC’s burials. In addition to the UJC cemetery in Price Hill, JCGC has two other Reform cemeteries in Price Hill, Judah Touro, dating back to 1855, and Montefiore, which was originally founded in 1871 as a mutual benefit society to provide a social or educational framework for members and their families to support each other.
Ten of JCGC’s twelve Orthodox cemeteries are located in Covedale. Yad Chorutzim Cemetery and Tiferath Israel Cemetery were operated by North Avondale Synagogue until it closed in 1997. New Hope was started in 1939 to meet the needs of a congregation formed by refugees and survivors from Europe. Kneseth Israel Cemetery formerly was owned by the congregation of the same name, now operating as Congregation Zichron Eliezer. The five Golf Manor cemeteries (formerly owned by Golf Manor Synagogue), including Beth Jacob/Price Hill Congregation and Beth Hamedrash Hagodol, date back to 1901. American Beneficial Cemetery was established as a burial society in 1913. The two Orthodox cemeteries located in Price Hill are Schachnus and Hirsh Hoffert. Schachnus was established in 1874 after the founding of the Beth Tefyla congregation by Rabbi Schacne Isaacs. Hirsh Hoffert was founded as a burial association in the early 1900s.
The three JCGC Conservative cemeteries include the Northern Hills Cemetery (Covedale), Love Brothers Cemetery (Price Hill) and the original Adath Israel Cemetery (Price Hill). Northern Hills purchased their cemetery land from Yad Chorutzim early in the life of the predecessor congregation, B’nai Avraham (Norwood). Love Brothers was incorporated in 1903 and has been affiliated with Ohav Shalom Congregation. The Adath Israel Cemetery was opened in the 1850s, a few years after the congregation was founded. There is also a Conservative section in the UJC – Montgomery cemetery. This section was originally opened for Adath Israel congregants in 2001 and subsequently expanded as a Conservative section for the entire community.
The Loveland property is located at 712 Loveland–Miamiville Road and includes a residence. JCGC’s Ritual Coordination Committee, consisting of many of the congregational rabbis, divided the property into Reform, Conservative and Orthodox sections based on expected usage in the future. JCGC has initially developed fifteen of the 23 acres, with a little less than half of the initial acreage being available for sale of grave sites. The initial layout is flexible, and if the original usage projections need to be adjusted, the layout of the future sections can be adjusted as well.
We invite the community to our dedication on June 4 and hope that you will be able to join us. We are proud that we are able to take care of those that have gone before us in lasting dignity and respect.