Jul 12, 2008

Jewish Cemetery Desecrated


Within the sprawling Fairview Cemetery on Lehigh Street, is the oldest Jewish Burials in the Lehigh Valley. The small Jewish section, called Mt. Sinai, predates all the existing Congregations, which have their own cemeteries. Graves here date back to the Civil War, and the descendants are long gone. The graves are being desecrated not by vandals, but by neglect. The cemetery is maintained, or not, by Boyko Funeral Services. My offer to pay for the restoration of the Jewish section has been ignored, I repeat the offer publicly. My calls, and calls from others, to The Morning Call, for exposure on this problem have likewise produced no results. Other large sections of the cemetery are in similar distress. Behind the grave marker of this Jewish child, the marker of a second child, has slid down into an enormous groundhog hole.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a disgrace. Is that the same Boyko that has a funeral home in Macungie?

michael molovinsky said...

i do not know about the relationship to any other funeral homes. Last year there were several letters to the editor complaining about neglected graves at the cemetery, even after perpetual care fee's were paid once again by younger family generations. it is my understanding that the operator (boyko) had the entire cemetery cut and trimmed right after a Morning Call reporter made an inquiry last year, and a story was never written. This is an on going saga now for quite a few years. The Trexler Trust maintains the grave of Harry Trexler, but does not want to get involved with the expense of the entire cemetery. Besides the Trexler grave, Boyko will not allow other private landscapers to work. Recently instead of weedwacking the grave stones, prison was spread around the stones, which of course makes a ugly brown dead grass. The Jewish section is just 1% of the area, so these conditions for the most part apply to thousands of Christian graves. The area bordering Lehigh Street is the most maintained, and it gets progressively worse as you go deeper into the cemetery. if you walk around, beware of groundhog holes, which are often hidden because of high grass.

Anonymous said...

Reason I asked is that I know David Boyko (he owns Boyko Funeral Home in Macungie) and I'd have no problem talking to him about this. In fact I'll bring it up just in case there is either a connection or it's something he can help with.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 11:45, thank you, any intervention would be appreciated. i reluctantly did this posting, because frankly, i got no where with my own back channel attempts.

Anonymous said...

MM, my understanding is there is a direct connection btw/ Boyko / Allentown and Boyko / Macungie.

Also, David Boyko sits on the Borough of Macungie Council.

Haven't spoken to him yet, will let you know when I do.

Anonymous said...

MM, have more info on the cemetary issue, don't want to list it here, but didn't see your email address anywhere?

michael molovinsky said...

anon 2:18, i'm in the phone book, i do not have caller id, your call would be appreciated. mm

Anonymous said...

Pease take pride in the Fairview Cemetery. Who ever is in charge get your act together.This is a historical cemetery not a mock up

Anonymous said...

The Fairview Cemetery is historical and should be kept that way. The Morning Callhas been notified last year and this year but where are they. Please get this cemetery back to what it should be. No excuses.

Anonymous said...

I was driving along Graham Street in Bethlehem, the hilly part that goes up behind St. Luke's - there's a tiny Jewish Cemetary there as well. It's not in terrible shape and I'm wondering who maintains it. Have you contacted the Jewish Community Center to see if they might be interested in taking on the maintenance of Mt. Sinai?

michael molovinsky said...

there are actually four different Jewish cemeteries there on fountain hill, each maintained by a synagogue. although not the Jewish community center, there is currently an effort being made by a Jewish group to get permission to oversee Mt. Sinai.

Anonymous said...

Our family is thrilled to see this…
Last year this same time our family took great effort to do something about this cemetery and Boyko's terrible lack of both professionalism and compassion for the dead and their families. We have pictures available of just how awful the cemetery looked one year ago. It was at that time, that the Boyko's actually made an effort to make the front of the cemetery a bit more appealing, but left the rest in complete disgrace. We have approximately 25 members of our family within this cemetery, we have taken the time to clear away grave sites from weeds, replace knocked over headstones, etc. on our own even though perpetual care has been paid.
Obviously, both The Morning Call and the Boyko’s did not believe this to be important enough to address last summer, even though there where many letters and phone calls to them. Hopefully, this summer genuine action will take place.
My own father passed away last June and due to both the conditions of the cemetery and the un-professionalism of the Boyko family my mother and I chose to NOT have him buried in this cemetery with his entire family, as once planned.
It is so important to maintain and restore our historical sites within the city – especially when families have paid for the care and are not receiving it. This is not only “bad business”, it is terribly disrespectful.
“An emotionally drained family”