Jewish cemetery

From the Jersey Journal Unknown Date

Inscriptions Fading Near Graves of Early Settlers

Jewish Cemetery Dating Back to 1875 Found in J.C.

Is there a Jewish burial ground in Hudson County?  Most people are under the impression there isn't.

Actually one does exist - a ground of graves dating back more than 100 years at New York Bay Cemetery in Jersey City.

In a section of the cemetery off Chapel Avenue next to the graves of some of Jersey City's earliest settlers is the burial area.

The gravestones are in varying stages of wear and except for a Hebrew abbreviation at the top of each meaning "Here died' the names and dates are for the most part barely readable.

Were they Jersey City residence?

The cemetery records don't date back that far.

And the Jewish Encyclopedia lists Joseph Mayer as the first Jewish settler in Jersey City.  Mayer opened a tobacco shop in 1858.  The firs Jewish congregation was organized in 1870.

Rabbi Samuel Berman, the spiritual leader of the oldest congregation, Temple Beth-El, expressed surprise at the find which was uncovered by a Bergen Avenue merchant Morris Pesin.

Of the 40or 50 graves, according to the inscriptions, most of the interments were in the  1870's and 80's.  The oldest readable gravestone inscription is for Moses Hirsch who died in 1857. 

Several of the inscriptions indicate the nativity of the deceased as being Germany and Alsace, which may explain the "Here died."

A New York Bay spokesman said the cemetery was opened in 1845 and that it served immigrant families living in New York.

Some of the graves were entrusted to the care of the Sol Benjamin Society and to a lodge of the United Order of the Sons of David which a New York Bay spokesman said were New York fraternal groups.

And occasionally, the cemetery receives a call from New York with instructions for the care of a grace.

Whether from New York or whether some of the buried are early Hudson County Jewry, the find is an interesting sidelight on Jersey City history.

Among the names on the grave stones are Metzer, Gotthold, Newman, Levinger, May, Davidson, Gi Gosmann, Baer, Leyser, Werderschag, Harris, Levy, Wolff, Weiss, Weil, and Adler.