LOS ANGELES – April 10, 2014 – The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and the Friends of Mount Zion Cemetery are embarking on the next phase of a project that will culminate this summer with nearly 600 gravesites being repaired at Mt. Zion Cemetery in East Los Angeles. Funding for the work was provided by the Federation as well as by Friends of Mount Zion Cemetery, an organization formed by Rabbi Moshe Greenwald, with significant donations by individual community members.
“We have been allocating money for the upkeep of Mt. Zion for many years,” said Jay Sanderson, President & CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. “With thoughtful consideration of the need, and with serious community support and involvement, including the leadership of Rabbi Moshe Greenwald and our partnership with Friends of Mount Zion Cemetery, we have been substantially addressing the poor conditions of the cemetery and will continue to do so. While our Federation’s mission is to build community and ensure a strong Jewish future, we have taken on the role of accelerating the repairs and restoring the grounds out of respect to the deceased.”
The current repairs spear-headed by the Federation include re-setting of headstones, concrete work and general grounds maintenance. The initial step was the installation of a new security fence to shore up parts of the property in order to prevent vandalism, which has been an ongoing issue at the cemetery. Thus, far 400 headstones have already been re-set. When the next phase is completed, the total will be just under 600.
“There’s still much more work to be done, and we need our community to step up in providing the additional funds required to continue the pace of the significant progress we have made to date,” said Sanderson.
Over the past decade, The Jewish Federation has allocated nearly $25,000 per year to the upkeep of Mt. Zion. However, the funds haven’t been able to keep up with the damage created by vandals, earthquakes and neglect of the grounds. As part of the current effort, an engineering firm was hired to create a schematic of the entire grounds and individual burial sites in order to effectively map out the work to be done and prioritize the individual sites that needed the greatest amount of repair.
To contribute funds to the unmet repair needs of Mt. Zion, contact the Federation or visit www.restoremtzion.com.
Based on Jewish values, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles convenes and leads the community and leverages its resources to assure the continuity of the Jewish people, support a secure State of Israel, care for Jews in need here and abroad, and mobilize on issues of concern to the local community, all with our local, national, and international partners. For more information, visit www.JewishLA.org.