Mogilev Cemetery Restoration fund

$1,755 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 25 people in 3 months
Created July 22, 2018
My name is Yakov Pevzner. I was born in the former USSR republic of Belarus. Mogilev is my home town and even though I have been living in the USA for about 25 years, Mogilev will always be in my heart. Here in Mogilev I went to school. Here in Mogilev I have a lot of friends and classmates I still keep in touch with.  Here in Mogilev’s Jewish cemetery my grandparents are buried. 

Ancient tombstones in the Jewish cemetery of Mogilev, Belarus, are currently under the threat of complete destruction. This is particularly true for the tombstones left without the care of descendants, as many families perished under Stalin’s repressions and the Holocaust.

                Unfortunately, the current law in Belarus allows the destruction of ancient tombstones labeling them as "dilapidated" and "not subject to restoration" regardless of their cultural and historical value. The city authorities agree to postpone the destruction of monuments for 1.5 years until 2020. The Mogilev Jewish community made great efforts to preserve the memory of their ancestors. The cemetery was fenced to prevent the plundering of expensive stone monuments, and a photo catalog of the ancient part of the cemetery was created. It is available online at http://mogjewshistory.ru/page3  .
The area of the cemetery is periodically cleaned by local and international volunteers.

                However, this is not enough to preserve historical matsevot. The Jewish community is attempting to get historical and cultural monument status to the ancient part of the cemetery. Such a status will oblige the state to protect the tombstones. In order to receive this status, WE must carry out restoration work in the cemetery by repairing more than 100 monuments damaged by time or vandalism. This requires much more money than we have.

             This is where YOUR help makes a difference.  If you value Jewish heritage and believe in its timeless contribution to the world culture, please support these efforts by making a donation.

All your contributions will go directly to “Mogilev Cemetery Restoration fund”.
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Simultaneously with our fundraising effort, members of the community collected various documents needed for the recognition of the ancient site of the cemetery as a historical monument.

Here are few excerpts from the official papers, prepared by the Mogilev History Museum.

“…Many tombstones are works of art by stone-cutting masters. Particularly interesting is the ancient site of the cemetery with burials of different periods. This allows us to trace the changes of artistic styles, social and cultural changes throughout the long period of urban history…”

"…The traditional Jewish burial ritual does not differentiate by social status, wealth, or gender.
But in most cemeteries it was customary to designate a special site for the burial of rabbis and other honorable members of the community. This site is located next to the cemetery entry gate and partially preserved…”

“…It is an integral complex of remaining burial grounds that determine the uniqueness of this place. It’s the only one of its kind in Belarus.
There are graves and crypts with tombstones made of high-quality granite and marble, with highly artistic decor and poetic epitaphs. Many important people are buried here. Their business, organizational and cultural activities determined the features of the city's cultural, economic and social history and its architecture …”
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Students and teachers (members of "Sambation" group from 5 countries: Israel, Russia, USA, Ukraine and Belarus) came to Mogilev and went to the Jewish cemetery. The head of the group, the well-known artist Michael Yakhilevich, told us about his impressions: "On one hand, there are wonderful monuments telling about the history of Mogilev and people who lived here. On the other hand we feel that this cemetery is in deplorable conditions. It would be great to put it in order. I myself live in Israel and I see that more and more people are interested in their history. The roots of the many people living now abroad are here. "
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Dr. Leonid Smilovitsky, the expert in history of Jews in Belarus, recently visited the Mogilev Jewish cemetery. The author of more than 450 articles works on a new research on history of the Jewish cemeteries in Belarus. The Israeli historian noted the unique nature of the burials from the 19th century. Now we wait for new articles that will include history of the Mogilev Jewish cemetery. But we still not sure if readers of these articles will be able to see a memorial complex with own eyes.
We are still waiting for definite answers from the city authorities.
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Dear friends.

First of all:
Thanks a lot to all donors for your generous contributions.
Without you we would not stand a chance to preserve our Jewish heritage in Mogilev.
Please continue your support.

We have very positive news to share:
Ida and Alex together with Jewish community prepared and presented to the city authorities almost 30 pages of material about the Cultural and Historic value of Jewish Cemetery in Mogilev.
Yesterday, after multiple difficult negotiations the city authorities agreed to begin the preparation of documents to obtain a “Historical and Memorial Burial Place” status.
This is a huge step because so far in Mogilev province no cemetery has such a status.
We hope that the Jewish Cemetery in Mogilev will be the first.

We will keep you updated.
Thanks again for your continuous support.
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$1,755 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 25 people in 3 months
Created July 22, 2018
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