Historic Jewish Cemeteries in Seattle Desecrated by Homeless, Community Says

Community leader says headstones have been defaced and that needles and other discarded drug paraphernalia, as well as human feces, have been found on and among the tombstones

JTA
JTA
The Bikur Cholim Cemetery in Seattle, Washington.
The Bikur Cholim Cemetery in Seattle, Washington.Credit: Screenshot / Google Maps street view
JTA
JTA

The managers of two historic Jewish cemeteries in Seattle are asking for the city’s help in preventing desecration and vandalism at the sites.

The Jewish community says the issue is groups of homeless people who have set up camp in and around the cemeteries.

Ari Hoffman, a vice president of Seattle’s Bikur Cholim Machzikay Hadath Synagogue and a member of its cemetery committee, told the local media that headstones have been defaced and that needles and other discarded drug paraphernalia, as well as human feces, have been found on and among the tombstones. Hoffman also said that prostitutes use the woods behind the cemetery for their clients.

The Bikur Cholim cemetery has gravesites going back to the Civil War as well as recent burials.

Across the street, the Historic Sephardic Jewish Cemetery is experiencing similar vandalism.

A spokesman for Seattle’s Homelessness Emergency Response said Friday that the city was aware of the concerns near the cemeteries.

“The Navigation Team, which is the city’s homelessness response team that connects vulnerable people to shelter and services, inspected the site earlier today and is assessing site conditions,” the spokesman said.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Election ad featuring Yair Lapid in Rahat, the largest Arab city in Israel's Negev region.

This Bedouin City Could Decide Who Is Israel's Next Prime Minister

Dr. Claris Harbon in the neighborhood where she grew up in Ashdod.

A Women's Rights Lawyer Felt She Didn't Belong in Israel. So She Moved to Morocco

Mohammed 'Moha' Alshawamreh.

'It Was Real Shock to Move From a Little Muslim Village, to a Big Open World'

From the cover of 'Shmutz.'

'There Are Similarities Between the Hasidic Community and Pornography’

A scene from Netflix's "RRR."

‘RRR’: If Cocaine Were a Movie, It Would Look Like This

Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid's Journey: From Late-night Host to Israel's Prime Minister