BY JARED SICHEL www.jewishjournal.com
Shlomo Rechnitz, a Los Angeles businessman and philanthropist, has donated $250,000 to restore the badly vandalized Mount Zion Cemetery in East Los Angeles. In addition, two other donors, real estate developer Izek Shomof and businessman Adi McAbian, each donated $25,000, and another real estate developer, Michael Fallas, gave $10,000, making possible some major initial repairs to the site, which has been damaged by intruders in recent years, including knocking over gravestones. The century-old cemetery is the gravesite for about 7,000 Jews.
Following these gifts and a site visit on May 30 by key community leaders, the first stage of the crumbling cemetery’s restoration is expected to begin in June.
Articles in the Jewish Journal and Los Angeles Times have raised awareness about the issue in recent weeks. Rabbi Moshe Greenwald, co-director of Chabad of Downtown Los Angeles, is leading the effort to restore the cemetery.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles assumed responsibility for Mount Zion Cemetery in 1969 after its original owner, Chevra Chesed Shel Emeth, was no longer able to maintain it. In the past decade, Federation has provided annual support of about $25,000.
To donate to Friends of Mt. Zion Cemetery, send checks, payable to “Friends of Mt. Zion Cemetery,” to 219 W Seventh St., Suite 206, Los Angeles, CA 90014.