Newark, NJ – Jewish cemetery groups will seek a court order today to stop work at the construction site near Ohev Sholem Cemetery, because headstones at the cemetery were damaged and caskets shifted, and the construction crew insists it’s not to blame.
The developer here has voluntarily agreed to stop work and to try to sort this out with all parties. He says he’s now getting heat for trying to do a good deed, helping the cemetery with work on their own property. The problem started at the point where the new housing development meets the old Jewis cemetery. The contractor and caretaker of the cemetery agreed to work together, removing trees and an old retaining wall.
But then Rabbi Edgar Gluck, not involved with initial talks, noticed some fresh dirt and tumbled marble where some of the graves once stood. A coalition of Chesed Shel Emes under the leadership of Mendy Rosenberg got very concerned, and said that construction crews made a big mistake by pulling out the roots of the trees and with that disturbing sacred land. Rabbi Gluck says what needs to happen now is the completion of a retaining wall, something the contractor is also eager to do. All parties will sit down tomorrow morning and come up with a plan.