Congregation Shearith Israel and the 1654 Society are embarking on a much-needed preservation project at Shearith Israel’s West 11th Street Cemetery, New York City’s second-oldest Jewish gravesite. Although this unique and historically important cemetery is quite small, this vital project is surprisingly complicated and challenging. Help us preserve this important piece of our nation’s Jewish heritage: donate today.

To view our growing list of donors, scroll down below.

Shearith Israel is North America’s oldest Jewish congregation, and has been in New York City for nearly 370 years, since the days of Peter Stuyvesant’s New Amsterdam.  The 1654 Society is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-sectarian organization charged with the preservation of the historically significant objects, cemeteries, and synagogue space of Congregation Shearith Israel.

The West 11th Street Cemetery dates back to 1805, and is a national and city landmark rich in historical and cultural significance.  This triangular graveyard reminds the world that Jews have been living in New York City for hundreds of years.  The stories of those buried within, of revolutionary war veteran Ephraim Hart, noted painter Joshua A. Canter, and others, shed light on the birth of our nation, the history of our city, and the cultural and civic development of the American people.  This graveyard is located at 76 West 11th St, just east of Sixth Avenue, in the heart of Greenwich Village. Learn more about the history of our second cemetery here.

On February 27, 2020, the West 11th Street Cemetery turned 215 years old, and was in dire need of preservation and repair.  To make matters worse, a car crash in 2019 resulted in serious damage, requiring us to cover and protect the area with a temporary plywood wall. The cemetery walls were unsound, its grave markers were leaning and nearly illegible, and passersby can learn very little about the cemetery when they stop to linger at its gate.  This living piece of history was vanishing before our eyes, and if renewal efforts were not completed, this cemetery would literally disappear before our great-grandchildren could visit it.

Our dedicated West 11th Street Project Committee, consisting of Shearith Israel professionals, congregants, and concerned and historically oriented neighbors of the cemetery, has been working since early 2013 to get these renewal efforts off the ground.  This tireless group has applied for and received grants, raised private funds, commissioned a structural engineering survey, commissioned a property survey, and consulted with various architects. Ultimately at the recommendation of the committee, Shearith Israel hired a stellar team of restoration professionals including Rachel Frankel Architecture, a respected architect-conservator with decades of experience in the preservation of Jewish burial grounds, Dr. Joan Geismar, Urban Archeologist, Jablonski Building Conservation, Old Structures Engineering, Urban Arborists, and West New York Restoration.  The preliminary estimate for repairing, stabilizing, and beautifying the cemetery was around $500,000, and from the outset, our aim was to raise more in order to maintain the cemetery over time and not let it suffer from neglect. 

A project of this nature takes patience, perseverance, expertise, and financial resources. At long last, in the Fall of 2020, our restoration project was enthusiastically approved by the Community Board and New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission and was issued a Certificate of Appropriateness, and construction commenced in the Summer of 2022.  Phase I, the restoration of the wall and urgent repairs, was completed in January, 2023.

We are thrilled with the achievement but our aim is to do more than just repair and preserve this cemetery.  Today, New York’s second-oldest Jewish burial ground is not open to the public and lacks educational signage or visitor guidance.  Thus, our committee set out to accomplish three things:

Complete the urgent repairs in a high quality, aesthetic and, enduring way- COMPLETED JANUARY 2023
Create a maintenance and reserve fund for cleaning, repairs and landscaping
Open the cemetery to the public, and guide visitors through educational signage, audio tours, and docent-led tours
To date, our committee has raised (and spent!) the funds needed to complete Phase I, and has been actively planning for Phase II including ongoing maintenance, cleaning, repairs, and landscaping.  With your financial support, this too can be accomplished.  We hope to raise an additional $233,000. Please give as generously as your circumstances permit – gifts to date have ranged from under $180 to over $50,000. Gifts of any amount are greatly appreciated and will be recognized. On September 11, 2023, we held a rededication ceremony and donor appreciation event at the W, 11th Street Cemetery and hope to hold other such events at the site as we meet our goals for Phases II and III. 

Donate below to save the West 11th Street Cemetery and share this treasure with the public.

Click here to give >>

To learn more or to discuss a major gift, please contact Rev. Zachary Edinger.

We are extremely thankful to our growing group of donors and funders for their support:

    Congregation Shearith Israel's Rabbi's Discretionary Fund

     In Memory of Paul David Finkelstein

     In Memory of Richard Finkelstein

     Susan and Jack Rudin On Behalf Of The Rudin Family
     The Landmark Conservancy’s Sacred Sites Program

     40 Fifth Avenue Corporation
     The Hebra Hesed Va-Amet
     Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, Inc.
     Anonymous (6)

     Deena Aboodi

     Lisa F. Ader in memory of Irving and Lillian Ader

     Isaac Ainetchi

     Christopher Atamian in memory of Heidi Weisel

     The Aufzien Family in honor of Rabbi Ira Rohde

​     Esme and Roger Berg

​     Marc and Michele Borovoy in memory of Mathew Borovoy

     Marshall Brooks

     Bruce Bueno de Mesquita in memory of the Bueno de Mesquita ancestors

​     Susan Chalfin in memory of Michael Chalfin

​     Corleto Family

​     William Harby Cunningham in honor of Isaac Harby

     Daar Family

​     Irene David

​     Davida Deutsch

​     Betsy Dollinger

​     Sherri and Simon Dratfield

​     Rose and Henry Edinger

     Zachary Edinger in honor of Brad Finkelstein

​     Andrew Fader

     Rhoda Fairman

    Barbara Finkelstein

​    Estelle Freilich

​    Susan Friedland

​    Richard Geist in honor of Friends of Greenwich Village as a Community

    Elizabeth Gilmore in honor of Arthur Levin

​    Joyce Gold

    Hana Newcomb and Jonathan Groisser, in honor of the B’nei Mitzvah of Julian, Rose, and Jacob Kaufelt

​    Alan Grossman in honor of Jean and Roger Grossman

    Rabbi Berel Gurevitch

    Robert Hammond

​    Jess & Matt Harris

​    Susan Harris

    Jonathan and Janet Hodes

    Michelle and Blake Horn

    Marion and Mark Howard in honor of  Art Levin

    Debrah Welling and Jack Intrator

     Thomas Jacks in honor of National Society Sons and Daughters of the Pilgrims
     Lyn Johnson in memory of Jere Hillstead

​     Gomez de Llarena Karpinska Family in honor of Jacob, Rose and Julian Kaufelt

​     Julian Kaufelt, Jacob Kaufelt, and Rose Kaufelt upon becoming Bnai Mitzvah (a "tri-mitzvah")

     Nina and Robbie Kaufelt

​     Edward Kerson

​     Sam W. Klein Charitable Foundation

​     Emily White and Walter Klores

     Jesse Kornbluth in honor of the Kaufelt Tri-Mitzvah

​     Maud and Neal Kozodoy

     Travis Krueger in memory of June I. Boreen

     Ms. Lola E. Langner

​     Laniado Family in memory of Saul and Helen Laniado

​     Geula Levi-Freeman

     Art Levin

     Lynnda Lockhart

     Andy Cohen and Deborah Lyons in honor of Julian, Rose & Jacob Kaufelt

     Sally and John Margolis in honor of Bnai Mitzvot of Julian, Rose and Jacob Kaufelt

​     Steve, Dina, Amanda Solomon and Beverly Marshall in honor of

               Julian, Rose and Jacob Kaufelt  becoming Bnai Mitzvot

​     Teresa McNamara in memory of  Paul Finkelstein & Richard Finkelstein

     Aaron Edison & Jennifer Medina

     Debbie Melamed in memory of Steven Melamed​

     Dinah and Andrew Mendes

​     Sara and Edward Morgenstern in memory of Jurandyr de Oliveira & Onorina Porto de Oliveira

​     Robert Moulthrop

​     Richard Mumby

     Martin L. Nass in loving memory of his wife Marilyn L. Nass

​     Betsy and John Nason

​     Estate of Fran and Frederic Nathan

​     Larissa and Jack Obadia

​     Carolyn and Steven Okin

​     Nancy Pasley

​     Paul and Erin Pariser in memory of Sanford and Marilyn Pariser and Sheldon Leider

     Matt Peltz

​     Chip and Susan Planck in memory of Hilary Planck

​     Susan and Marlon Portes

     Zachary Prensky in memory of Jay Anderson

​     Jean and Ronald Rawitt

​     Ellen and John Ray

     Gerald Robbins

​     Joy and Bruce Roberts

​     Rita Rodin

​     Lisa and Rabbi Ira Rohde

     Joyce E. Rosen in honor of Myra and Sheldon Rosen and in memory of  Rose Engelman

     Leonard Rosenblum in memory of Roselle Rosenblum

     Rick Rosemarin in memory of Ruth and Leo Rosemarin

​     John Russo in memory of Morris and Elizabeth Jacobs

​     Rob Long & Nick Sanchez in honor of Arthur Levin

     Iris Sasson

​     Linda Saul-Sena and Mark Sena in memory of Julie Saul

​     Muriel and Alexander Seligson

​     Constance Shapiro

     Eli and Arthur Shapiro

​    Yaakov Shechter in honor of Brad Finkelstein

     Sidewater Family Foundation

​     Estate of Myron and Barbara Herlands Smith

     Tracey and Theo Spencer

     Charles Sutphin

​     Jane Tate

     Craig Unger in honor of Rob Kaufelt

​     Margaret Wenig

     Betsy and David Wice in honor of Nathaniel Wice

​     Esther Allen and Nathaniel Wice

     Adam Woodward, Sr. 

​     Nancy Bass Wyden

     Amy Zalman in memory of Violetta Bardavid Zalman

​     Charlotte Triefus and Lloyd Zuckerberg

​     Abbie Zuckerman in memory of Phyllis and Murray Zuckerman

Nancy Bass Wyden
Nancy Bass Wyden

1654 Society