Har Jehuda Cemetery in Upper Darby Facing Hard Times as Business Declines

Image via Andy Gotlieb, Jewish Exponent.
A sign of overgrown conditions at Har Jehuda Cemetery in Upper Darby.

Har Jehuda Cemetery, a Jewish cemetery off Lansdowne Avenue in Upper Darby, is being tended to by a skeleton staff, writes Andy Gotlieb for Jewish Exponent.

The crew does the best it can but Har Jehuda President Larry Moskowitz admits there are more complaints these days about things looking run down and overgrown.

Economics is the problem.

“It’s very emotional for me because I’ve been around it so long,” Moskowitz said. “I love it and it’s in our blood. I was charged in 1981 with taking care of the place, and that’s what I will continue to do.”

The 30-acre cemetery holds 20,000 graves. Moskowitz’s great-grandfather, Jehuda Moskowitz, was part of the chevra kadisha that founded the 1896 cemetery.

The family has been taking care of it ever since.

However, the number of burials at the cemetery is on the decline.

Last year, only 30 were buried. A decade ago, 150 people a year were interred.

That’s meant a 70 percent drop in burial revenue.

Older cemeteries like Har Jehuda use up their perpetual funds so when burial funds decline, there’s less money for cemetery upkeep.

Read more at the Jewish Exponent about the plight of older Jewish cemeteries in the region.

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