Two Historic Jewish Cemeteries Targets of Antisemitic Vandalism

Vandals desecrated two Jewish cemeteries in the historic Covedale Cemetery complex, with 176 gravestones knocked over at the historic west-side Jewish cemeteries Tifereth Israel Cemetery and the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Cemetery. 

According to a press release from the Jewish Federation, Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati, and The Jewish Community Relations Council, the majority of the gravestones were knocked face down, making it difficult to notify families. 

“The destruction includes tombstones dating back to the late 1800s, many of which have been knocked over, with some cracked in half,” they said in the press release. 

The JCGC, Federation, and JCRC have contacted SAFE Cincinnati who are working with local law enforcement and the FBI to investigate the crime. According to the press release, the vandalism occurred between June 25 and July 1. 

Antisemitism has skyrocketed in the US and around the world since Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists attacked Israel, killed 1200 people, took over 250 hostages, over 100 of whom are still held in Gaza, and the ensuing Israel-Hamas war. 

The vandalism at the cemetery goes along with a string of recorded antisemitic incidents in the Cincinnati area in the past year, including the doxxing of two prominent queer Jews on the Cincinnati Pride Board, white power fliers found in parts of Clifton, and a banner that read “Save Ireland From the Jews” hung over I-75 and 50 West

Jewish cemeteries have long been targets of antisemitic attacks and incidents, before Oct 7. They have been frequent targets worldwide and the US over the past several months.

This is not the first time vandals have targeted a Jewish cemetery in Ohio, in Nov. 2023 a Jewish cemetery in Cleveland was vandalized with swastikas, and graves were knocked over.

“Our loved ones’ burial sites ought to be sacred; but sadly, there is a long history of antisemites vandalizing Jewish cemeteries in an effort to harass, intimidate, and target our community,” said Ari Jun, JCRC Director. “Acts like this are revolting desecrations that have no place in our society.”

The Federation and JCRC have asked the community to remain vigilant during this difficult situation. The community can help by donating to the JCGC monument repair fund.

“Our hearts go out to the families affected by this senseless vandalism. The Jewish community in Cincinnati is resilient, and we are committed to repairing the damage and restoring the sanctity of these sacred spaces,” said the JCRC in their statement.