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Hebrew Cemetery

Franklin Street Burying Ground: First Jewish Cemetery in Virginia

The Franklin Street Burying Ground, at 21st and Franklin Streets in Richmond, was established in 1791 by K.K. Beth Shalome, the first synagogue in Richmond and Virginia. It was quickly filled. The cemetery is now surrounded by an apartment complex, and only two graves in the right rear corner are visible. Records exist for some of the burials that took place here, but there is no complete list of burials in this cemetery.

Hebrew Cemetery

In 1816, K.K. Beth Shalome purchased a much larger property, at 4th and Hospital Streets on Shockoe Hill, to be the site of their new burying ground, Hebrew Cemetery. Congregation Beth Ahabah was given burial rights, and the two congregations later created the Hebrew Cemetery Company to jointly administer the cemetery. The Hebrew Cemetery Company continues to manage both Hebrew Cemetery and the Franklin Street Burying Ground. Hebrew Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register in 2006.

Contact Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives for Cemetery tour information. Hebrew Cemetery is open to the public. A security guard also is present on the first and third Sundays of each month from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Directions to the Hebrew Cemetery.

 

Please help the Hebrew Cemetery Company maintain the historic cemeteries. Your gift will be greatly appreciated. CONTRIBUTE

Confederate Soldiers Section

Thirty Jewish Confederate soldiers are buried in a separate section of Hebrew Cemetery, having died in or near Richmond during the Civil War. One soldier is still unidentified. Most of the soldiers buried there were citizens of other Confederate states, dying too far away to be taken home for burial. The Hebrew Ladies’ Memorial Association cared for the graves,  and was responsible for creating grave markers, holding yearly memorial services and erecting an ornamental iron fence to surround the section. In the 1950’s, the individual grave stones were replaced by a bronze plaque listing the soldiers’ names. It is believed the the Soldiers’ Section is the only Jewish military cemetery in the United States and one of the few outside of Israel.

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