Jewish law requires that a tombstone be prepared so that the deceased will not be forgotten. The grave must not be desecrated.
We are restoring the Mt. Zion Cemetery and ensuring it is maintained for generations to come!
Friends of Mt Zion Cemetery is a group of volunteers dedicated to preserving and restoring the memories of those souls whose bodies have come to rest at the Mt. Zion Cemetery located just east of Los Angeles. Although it was once an affluent Jewish neighborhood, over the years the demographics have changed. There are now very few, if any, Jewish residents in the area. In turn, Mt Zion Cemetery has deteriorated to a near-abandoned state, plagued by both vandalism and decay.
The focus is restore the mount zion cemetery fully. To make site accessible to all members of the Jewish community of Greater Los Angeles. Currently we are working to finalize the restoration of all the monuments. as we are now at about 97% of restoring all monuments. There will be further work on the roads, security for the site, vegetation cleanup, and most importantly a full verification of all data records. In the future we will hope to have available on line maps and all the site data records. Visitation to the site can be Sunday through Friday. Shabbat and all Jewish Holidays are observed.
Perpetual Care Fund $500,000
We will be keeping our supporters informed on the restoration progress on this website.
The Chevra Chesed Shel Emeth (Chesed Shel Emeth) or Jewish Free Burial Society was founded in 1916 for the purpose of providing "proper burial for orthodox Jews and for buying a burial ground. Mt Zion provided that burial ground. The Mount Zion Cemetery adjoins the Home of Peace Memorial Park (they were once connected). Although, historically, Mt Zion was known for providing free Jewish burials, upon further examination, it is evident that Jews with varying financial backgrounds were buried there as well. Amongst the several smaller headstones stand, large ornate headstones as well; evidence of significant care and financial investment. It seems that along with the Free Jewish Burial Society, many other funerals and burials were conducted as well from all tiers of the Jewish community.
Mt Zion Cemetery is currently overwhelmed with damage and decay. Nearly 1000 graves are in some sort of disrepair. The dismal conditions include toppled and cracked headstones, smashed concrete, graffiti and other vandalism, uprooted trees, and uneven pathways to name a few. It appears as though vandals used rocks and screwdrivers on multiple occasions to pry off the rounded photographs from the headstones, leaving behind only a name and dates. It truly is a sad sight to behold.
The scope of work and final design of the project will depend on the outcome of our fundraising. The restoration process will take from 24 - 36 months to complete and will be addressed in a phased approach. We have started the project by securing the perimeter of the cemetery, including much needed front gate repairs. We have broken up the cemetery into 4 sections and the project into 5 phases. We estimate the overall budget to be approximately $750,000 (not including phase 5, which is to be determined).
Mt. Zion is in desperate need of repair and restoration. Any further delay will only allow for more damage and decay, possibly beyond the point of salvage.
Thousands of forgotten souls rest on the grounds of Mt. Zion. These souls once lived and breathed; they walked the same land we now walk on. Although many years have passed since they breathed their last, their time on earth cannot be forgotten. By putting forth effort to restore their final resting place, we are honoring the memories of all of our antecedents, all the Jews that came before us. Without them, we would not be where we are today.
For the first time in years, there is a light shining on Mt Zion; we must work together keep this light forever shining brightly, as its original founders intended.
We come from a rich heritage: the history, values and destiny that we have always shared are driven and inspired by the wisdom of our Torah and our people.
In the Jewish tradition a cemetery is called Beit HaChayim House of Life for it reminds us of our lifes inner purpose and definition. Although an individuals time in this world has ended, ones soul and essence did not die.
Life on earth is one stage of a journey. When the body is laid to rest, part of the souls essence remains with it and is present above the grave. This is why in Jewish thought a cemetery is a holy place. That it deserves the utmost respect and dignity is a foundational understanding in the Jewish tradition.
When we respect our forebears and our past we recognize the everlasting contribution they made to this world in their lifetime. We salute the transcendent acts they performed as vehicles of their souls. Our campaign to restore this Jewish cemetery is not only of historic significance; it is the foundation of Jewish continuity. It is our commitment to cherish our past, as we look to that past to find orientation in life for ourselves, our children, and for a bright Jewish future.
All headstones will be lifted and reinforced with rebar, as needed.
Depending on the condition of the ledgers, those in need will be completely restored with new concrete.
We will be safely removing graffiti with organic, non-chemical graffiti removal solution.
All fences surrounding the perimeter of the cemetery have been fixed and replaced as needed. This work was done prior to doing any work.
The road will be grinded down and repaved, including sidewalk repairs, where needed.
All additional money donated as well as continuous donations after completion will be rolled over to an endowment plan, costing approximately $30,000/year to keep the cemetery properly maintained.
Visit the cemetery for one of our events.