Cemetery History. Update on 2016 and 2017 Grants. Before and After sample pictures of restorations.

Cemetery History. Update on 2016 and 2017 Grants. Before and After pictures of restorations.

It was when Clara Senders, an infant daughter of one of the Jewish families, died in December of 1877 that the Jews of Albany got organized. The heartbreaking event catalyzed the rallying of the area’s small Jewish population to establish a formalized Jewish community. In April of 1878, Bertha and Isaac Senders, four months after burying their daughter on their land, deeded that land to the newly formed First Hebrew Congregation of Albany, which would now oversee the newly established Albany Hebrew Cemetery. Today, as I walk through the Waverly Jewish Cemetery (historically known as Albany Hebrew Cemetery), I remember not only the Jewish families who were pioneers here, but also more recent losses of beloved members (among them, “pillars”) of our Corvallis and Salem Jewish communities, who are also buried here. I feel the importance of preserving this place, and I am far from the only one. Our local Burial Society, which rededicated the cemetery in 1989, works to guide and support families who wish to follow Jewish practices for burial and remembrance of loved ones. The Burial Society in recent years has taken on a larger role of ensuring that the historic cemetery is well cared for.

In 2015, because of a generous donation from an individual, we were able to hire landscapers who mowed, weeded, attended the trees and shrubs, and planted rose bushes at the street-side edge of the grounds. In 2016, the cemetery, which was already listed in Oregon’s historic registry, was approved by the Oregon advisory committee to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, thanks to Amy Crain who began working on this project more than a decade ago in conjunction with Daniel Froehlich, archivist for Albany Hebrew Cemetery (Waverly Jewish Cemetery’s original title). In 2015, the Burial Society raised $1500 to pay for an assessment, leveling and cleaning of the tombstones, which improved the aesthetics of this special place.

The work was furthered through grants in 2016 and 2017 (which totaled $6000) in Oregon Heritage Grants that allowed us to continue restorations in those years. These grants are still available through Oregon Parks and Recreation and may be obtained with the caring guidance of Kuri Gill. We would not have received these grants without the dedication of volunteers whose hundreds of hours won us the grants. We appreciate the knowledgeable and careful work of Sally Donovan and Bruce Howard, restoration experts. As part of the grant projects, Nathan Vega and friends erected a kiosk as his Eagle Scout project, Ellen Beier (professional children’s book artist) created a historical map of the cemetery, and Uta Plotkin created a website where we continue to accumulate information about the histories of families who are buried here (albanyhebrewcemeter.org).

Below are before and after pictures of some of the restoration work of Sally Donovan and Bruce Howard.

Mark your calendars for History through Headstones, July 25th 7pm to dusk at Albany Hebrew Cemetery and Houston Cemetery

For more information…

 

Albany’s Historic society is planning an interesting event, History through Headstones, on Wednesday evening, July 25th, at 7pm.

Albany’s trolley is scheduled to leave the Albany Regional History Museum prior to the tour (times TBD), transporting folks through the Hackleman district, to the Albany Hebrew Cemetery (a.k.a. Waverly Jewish Cemetery). Participants will then take a short walk across the road to Houston Cemetery. Balloons will indicate the the stations where docents will share stories about some of Albany’s prominent people of the past.

The Willamette Jewish Community Burial Society will also have information on what we did with the grant funds we obtained in 2016 and 2017 to rebuild some of the amazing monuments in the Albany Hebrew Cemetery. Click on the VIDEOS section of this website to see restoration in action!

We appreciate the availability of the grant money through the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Without these grants, the Albany Hebrew Cemetery would still be a pile of rubble. Through the grants, and LOTS of volunteer hours, we were able to mend broken stones and honor our loved ones who are buried here.

Come see what we’ve done!

 

DO YOU LIKE WHAT YOU SEE? Please donate to our ALL VOLUNTEER efforts to keep this cemetery looking its best. Our one ongoing expense, landscape maintenance, is funded through donations to Beit Am’s Chevra Kaddisha fund in Corvallis, and Temple Beth Sholom in Salem, and the Willamette Valley Jewish Community Burial Society – a Salem and Corvallis based organization. We appreciate your donations!

Thank you.

2018 Plans To Include a New Map of the Cemetery

We are happy to announce that a new map will be posted in the cemetery kiosk this year, thanks to the many volunteer hours of a talented children’s book author, Ellen Beier. Here is a glimpse before she finishes with the key code which will include the location of pioneer family plots in the Albany Hebrew Cemetery. We hope that visitors will find this map useful, and use it in conjunction with this website to find out more about pioneer Jewish families from this area.

Ellen Beier volunteered her talent in conjunction with the 2017 grant from the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

Other plans for this year are to continue adding content to this website, and to conduct a history tour of some of the family plots this spring. Additionally, we plan to put in more paths for better access, and to provide a couple of benches for our visitors through a generous donation and through volunteer efforts from the community. We also plan to have our annual summer cleaning event again this year, so stay tuned for that.

Please be patient as we are continuing to update the website. Eventually we are hoping to include family information of our more recently buried friends and loved ones as well.

DO YOU LIKE WHAT YOU SEE? Please donate to our ALL VOLUNTEER efforts to keep this cemetery looking its best. Our one ongoing expense, landscape maintenance, is funded through donations to Beit Am’s Chevra Kaddisha fund in Corvallis, and Temple Beth Sholom in Salem, and the Willamette Valley Jewish Community Burial Society – a Salem and Corvallis based organization. We appreciate your donations!

Thank you.

Mark your calendar! July 30, 2017 is our annual Cleaning Day!

Calling all hands to the Annual Cleaning of
Historic Albany Hebrew Cemetery (a.k.a. Waverly Jewish Cemetery)
Sunday, July 30th , 2017 – 11am to 3pm.  Come when you can!

Come join us for a day of historic preservation, learn and share techniques for cleaning headstones and monuments without harming them, and enjoy meeting others who share a love for local history.

The Williamette Valley Jewish Community Burial Society invites you to the annual cleaning of headstones at the Albany Hebrew Cemetery on July 30th, 2017. Come join us for this one day. It’s a mitzvah!

We have been granted funds once again, from the Oregon Historic Cemeteries grant program in conjunction with Oregon State Parks and Rec, to continue our work from the past two years. We would appreciate your involvement to help make this happen.  Your volunteer hours count!

We suggest you bring a water bottle, hat, chair or knee pad, rubber gloves, and snacks.  These are optional items. We provide the cleaning equipment. Address is 3013-3099 SE Salem Ave, Albany OR 97321.

Bruce Howard is finishing up restoration of a few memorials on this day. He’s already off to a great start.

Sarah Rosenthal urn being affixed to the base. July 2017.