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Har Jehuda Cemetery (Upper Darby, Pa.) Records

Collection ID

SCRC 394

Related Subject(s)

Collecting Area(s)

Description

Collection Summary 
 
Title
Har Jehuda Cemetery (Upper Darby, Pa.) Records
 
Dates
1902-2018, bulk 1902-1959
 
Collection ID
SCRC 394
 
Creators
Har Jehuda Cemetery (Upper Darby, Pa.)
 
Quantity
1.48 linear feet (5 boxes)
 
Repository 
Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries
 
Language
Materials in English and Yiddish
 
Detailed Collection Information 
 
Historical Note
The corporation now known as the Har Jehuda Cemetery began as the Independent Chevra Kadisho in 1893. The Independent Chevra Kadisho was a burial organization that owned and operated the Independent Chevra Kadisho Cemetery in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania while working out of offices based in South Philadelphia. Throughout their early history, the Independent Chevra Kadisho’s primary mission was to use their space and resources to help those in the Philadelphia-area Jewish community who did not have relatives able to arrange for and/or afford a proper Jewish burial. Although initially described as a “free burial society,” the Independent Chevra Kadisho also sold plots in their cemetery to various Jewish fraternal groups for use by their members. This, along with community donations, helped defray operational and maintenance costs. The Chevra Kadisho continued these practices through 1902 when they opened a larger cemetery in Upper Darby called the Har Jehuda Cemetery. The Independent Chevra Kadisho then served as the official owner and operator of both their original site and Har Jehuda well into the twentieth century. Over time, the majority of the Independent Chevra Kadisho Cemetery’s member organizations used up their space or ceased operations. As a result, the owners of the Independent Chevra Kadisho, the Moskowitz family, shifted the bulk of their operation from the offices in Philadelphia to their Har Jehuda Cemetery grounds in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. It was around this time that they began using only the “Har Jehuda Cemetery” name when referring to the management of either cemetery site and discontinued the use of “Independent Chevra Kadisho” when referring to administrative function. The Independent Chevra Kadisho name survived only as the name of the original cemetery in Gladwyne.
 
Har Jehuda Cemetery sold the land containing the Independent Chevra Kadisho Cemetery and the neighboring Har Hasetim Cemetery in 1993. Eventually, the Beth David Reform Congregation acquired the land and now maintains the space known as Gladwyne Jewish Memorial Cemetery. The Har Jehuda Cemetery in Upper Darby remains open and fully operational.  
 
Description of Collection 
The Har Jehuda Cemetery Records consist of burial registers, correspondence, and financial documents created during the operation of both the Independent Chevra Kadisho and Har Jehuda Cemeteries. The burial registers include names, last addresses, ages, dates of death according to the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars, and grave locations of those buried in the Har Jehuda Cemetery. The books log burials from the opening of the cemetery in 1902 to 1948. Two registers are devoted to the burials of men, one in Yiddish and one in English, while the other is strictly women, which is in Yiddish. The two registers of men do not contain identical information. They do include many of the same names but they also include names that are found in one but not the other. Though the information in these registers dates back to 1902-1903, physical evidence in the registers themselves suggest they were not compiled until around 1941.
 
The bulk of the correspondence is between Independent Chevra Kadisho President Harry Moskowitz and state and local hospitals and Jewish benevolent associations. Correspondence from institutions to the Independent Chevra Kadisho consists of requests for burials on behalf of deceased patients or clients that did not have the means to cover a proper Jewish burial. The response letters from Harry Moskowitz indicate whether the Independent Chevra Kadisho took care of the burials gratis. Additionally, a small number of outgoing letters are requests for reimbursement to families who received a free burial but where later determined to have the money to pay for it. Frequent correspondents include the Jewish Welfare Society of Philadelphia, The Jewish World, Mount Sinai Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia County Relief Board. Additional correspondence includes discussions of financial matters such as delinquent payments for plots held. Also included are financial records for both the Independent Chevra Kadisho and the Har Jehuda Cemetery consisting of paid bills, receipts, and disbursement ledgers noting payments made for cemetery operational and management costs.
 
This collection includes preserved versions of the organization’s website, available through Archive-It.
 
Organization and Arrangement 
 
The collection is arranged into 2 series as follows:
 
Series 1: Records, 1902-1959
 
Series 2: Web versions in Archive-It, 2018
 
Series 1: Records, 1902-1959, consists of all paper records within the collection. It is arranged alphabetically by document type.
 
Series 2: Website versions in Archive-It, 2018, contains preserved versions of the Har Jehuda Cemetery’s website. The preserved website includes rules and regulations for the grounds, information about planning for a burial, hours of operation, a map of the property, directions, and contact information. To access these sites, see the Temple University Special Collections Jewish Archives Archive-It web page: https://archive-it.org/collections/4280
 
Patron Information 
 
Catalog Record 
A record for this collection is available in Temple University’s online library catalog:  https://librarysearch.temple.edu/catalog/991036961200103811
 
Research Access 
Collection is open for research.
 
Collections Stored Off-Site
This collection is housed off-site at the Library Depository, and requires up to two business days to retrieve. Please review the finding aid and be prepared to identify specific materials to be retrieved. Contact the Special Collections Research Center in advance of your visit, so that materials may be relocated to the reading room for research. 
 
Publication and Copyright Information 
The Har Jehuda Cemetery Records are the physical property of the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries. The creator/donor has not assigned its rights to Temple University Libraries. 
 
Preferred Citation
[Description and date of item], [Box/folder number], Har Jehuda Cemetery (Upper Darby, Pa.) Records, SCRC 394, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 
 
Administrative Information 
 
Acquisition Information
Donated by Har Jehuda Cemetery in October 1986 and July 1993. Collection previously administered by the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center, acquired by Temple in June 2009.
 
Separated Material
A prayer book belonging to the family of the owners of the Har Jehuda Cemetery, the Moskowitz family, was separated from this collection and moved to Alan M. Moskowitz Family Papers.
 
Processing Information 
Collection processed and finding aid prepared in December 2018 by Casey Babcock, Project Archivist.
 
This collection is described at the folder level.
 
Index Terms 
 
The following headings have been used to index the description of this collection in Temple University’s electronic catalog:
 
Personal/Family Names: 
Moskowitz, Harry, 1895-1963
 
Corporate Names:
Har Jehuda Cemetery (Upper Darby, Pa.)
Independent Chevra Kadisho (Philadelphia, Pa.)
 
Subjects: 
Burial--Pennsylvania--Delaware County
Burial--Pennsylvania--Montgomery County
Jewish cemeteries--Pennsylvania--Delaware County
Jewish cemeteries--Pennsylvania--Montgomery County
Jews--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--Societies, etc.
Jews--United States--Social life and customs
 
Places:
Pennsylvania--Delaware County
Pennsylvania--Montgomery County
Philadelphia (Pa.)
 
Material Types: 
Administrative records
Born digital
Correspondence
Directories
Financial records
Ledgers (account books)
Logs
Web sites 
 
Inventory
 
Series 1: Records, 1902-1959
 
Series 1: Records, 1902-1959, consists of all paper records within the collection. It is arranged alphabetically by document type.
 
1                     Burial register, “Independent Chevra Kadisho-Har Jehuda Cemetery-Men,” 1903-1941          circa 1941
2                     Burial, “MEN,” 1903-1948          circa 1941-1948
3                     Burial register, “Independent Chevra Kadisho-Har Jehuda Cemetery-Women,” 1902-1941          circa 1941
4          1-2          Correspondence, A-Z          1931-1947
5          1-2          Har Jehuda Cemetery and Independent Chevra Kadisho, paid bills          1947-1952
5          3-5          Har Jehuda Cemetery, receipts and disbursement ledger          1953-1959
5          6-7          Independent Chevra Kadisho, Receipts and disbursement ledger          1954-1959
 
Series 2: Website versions in Archive-It, 2018
 
Series 2: Website versions in Archive-It, 2018, contains preserved versions of the Har Jehuda Cemetery’s website. The preserved website includes rules and regulations for the grounds, information about planning for a burial, hours of operation, a map of the property, directions, and contact information. To access these sites, see the Temple University Special Collections Jewish Archives Archive-It web page: https://archive-it.org/collections/4280