News Briefs, the Week of March 30, 2017


Restoration Plans Announced for Mount Carmel Cemetery

The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia on March 22 announced details for its plans to restore approximately 100 headstones vandals damaged in February at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Northeast Philadelphia.

Joe Ferrannini, a preservation and conservation expert with Gravestone Matters, in cooperation the National Park Service’s Northeast region office, will lead the restoration efforts, which began on March 28.

Ferrannini will oversee all restoration work and lead training sessions. The work is expected to last for two weeks, weather permitting.

Volunteers and paid workers will work in small teams, with some teams prepping stones for resetting, while other reset the stones or repair broken stones.

Jewish Federation said local craftspeople, including members of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1, are donating their time to the effort.

In addition to repairing the vandalism, fencing will be repaired and additional lighting will be installed.

Prior to this work, more than 300 people completed a cemetery cleanup, began mapping the ground and created an inventory of the stone conditions. In addition, $220,928 was raised from 2,984 gifts to support the cleanup, repair and security costs.

Pennsylvania Reinvests, Adds to Israel Bonds Holdings

Pennsylvania state Treasurer Joe Torsella said March 22 that Pennsylvania reinvested $9.8 million in bonds that had matured and added $2 million more in new purchases.

That increased the total amount of Israel Bonds in the Pennsylvania Treasury portfolio to $40 million. The bonds provide a yield of 2.67 percent.

“To fulfill our mission of building the financial security of the commonwealth, we are always searching for the best investments to make on behalf of Pennsylvanians,” Torsella said. “Increasing our holdings of Israel Bonds represents a fresh approach to an investment that the Pennsylvania Treasury has made for a long time.”

Every Pennsylvania treasurer since 1993 has invested in Israel Bonds, according to a department news release.

HIAS Creates Passover Haggadah Supplement About Refugees

HIAS has developed a supplement to the traditional Passover Haggadah that will touch upon the experiences of refugees today — much like the ancient Israelites who sought to rebuild their lives.

The 10-page supplement incorporates stories from many of the refugees it has helped resettle in the United States. It also includes readings, interactive activities and a guide for those who want to advocate for refugees.  It is can be downloaded at

Temple Menorah Keneseth Chai Vandal Caught

Philadelphia Police arrested a 13-year-old boy on March 27 in connection with a recent rock-throwing incident that broke a window at Temple Menorah Keneseth Chai.

He was seen on surveillance video and confessed, according to Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum of the 15th District.

Preliminary charges include possession of an instrument of crime, criminal mischief and institutional vandalism, Rosenbaum said. As a juvenile, he cannot face jail time, but could be sent to a juvenile facility. In addition, his parents may be subject to pay restitution for the $350 broken window.

When questioned, the boy denied involvement in either of the two previous rock-throwing incidents at the synagogue, Rosenbaum said, noting that police are seeking an accomplice.


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