Saturday, April 30, 2016

Holocaust Remembrance Day

May 4-5, 2016, according to Reform Judaism, is Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. This is not to be confused with International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is observed on January 27 (“On 27 January 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, was liberated by Soviet troops” –

“Shoah, which means catastrophe or utter destruction in Hebrew, refers to the atrocities that were committed against the Jewish people during World War II. This is a memorial day for those who died in the Shoah. The Shoah is also known as the Holocaust, from a Greek word meaning "sacrifice by fire." -

Over the years, I’ve written about the formerly abandoned Jewish Cemetery in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania (a suburb of Philadelphia), known by various names, Har Hasetim, Mount of Olives, and the Gladwyne Jewish Memorial Cemetery. The latter is the name given to the burial ground by the Friends of the Gladwyne Jewish Memorial Cemetery, which is managed by the Beth David Reform Congregation in Gladwyne  (newly-granted legal owners of the cemetery).

I’ve included some of my photographs here, as well as links at the end to blogs I’ve posted about this cemetery nestled deep in the woods. In honor of Yom HaShoah, Villanova University Department of History is presenting a three-hour research symposium entitled, “People and Place: The Making and Meanings of Har Hasetim in Gladwyne, PA.” Below is the formal announcement.

Thursday May 5, 2016   4:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Ave, Villanova, PA 19085 -
Driscoll Auditorium 134.

Villanova University Department of History Presents People and Place: The Making and Meanings of Har Hasetim in Gladwyne, PA, a Graduate Student Public History Symposium.

Join Professor Craig Bailey and his class of graduate students from Villanova University's Department of History as they present their research on the Har Hasetim Cemetery, also known as the Gladwyne Jewish Memorial Cemetery. This semester long project culminates with the retelling of Gladwyne's hidden Jewish cemetery. From immigration to Philadelphia to being interred in Gladwyne, the projects completed during the semester demonstrate the importance and history of the cemetery to understanding Philadelphia and Gladwyne. The presentation will open with a blessing and moment of silence in observance of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.
This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Reservations are not required but recommended by visiting Eventbrite:     

Dr. Craig Bailey joined forces with the Friends of the Gladwyne Jewish Memorial Cemetery to embark on dedicated research mission to uncover hidden history and facts about Har Hasetim. The mission of the Friends of the Gladwyne Jewish Memorial Cemetery is to ensure dignity for those interred at Har Hasetim and their families while honoring the historical, cultural and natural significance of the site. We will achieve our mission by working together with volunteers and with the support of community partners primarily through restoration and maintenance of the graves and natural features, sharing the story of the cemetery, and providing access to information about those interred at the site.

The purpose of the Friends of the Gladwyne Jewish Memorial Cemetery is:
  • To care for, maintain, restore, manage, operate and secure the property known as the Gladwyne Jewish Memorial Cemetery, located in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania on behalf of the owner of the Cemetery, Beth David Reform Congregation
  • To provide and maintain a suitable religious burial ground for those persons buried in the Cemetery;
  • To stimulate public awareness and appreciation for the Cemetery as a historical site and to solicit the participation of the community in its maintenance and preservation
  • To receive and administer funds for the aforesaid purposes.
For more information contact either Dr. Craig Bailey at Villanova University or Jill Cooper, Executive Director of Beth David Reform Congregation, 610-896-7485 x104,

References and Further Reading:
Friends of the Gladwyne Jewish Memorial Cemetery on Facebook
Friends of the Gladwyne Jewish Memorial Cemetery Website


  1. This is wonderful news that Gladwyne Jewish Memorial Cemetery has been recognized, reclaimed and is receiving the attention it deserves. Just curious, are there any burial records? I certainly hope so.

    1. Yes Sue, all burial records are in possession of Beth David.