(September 17, 2022, Virginia City, Nevada, JNS Wire)
On October 2, 2022, a special, joint collaborative effort by the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation (JASHP) and the Comstock Cemetery Foundation (CCF) will occur.
Silver was discovered in the Comstock (Load) in 1859. Jews were attracted to the Comstock because of the freedom, commonality, new possibilities, and financial opportunities the American West offered everyone. They significantly contributed to the Comstock’s economy, government, and society.
The Jewish community, as did their neighbors, experienced the harshness of life in a frontier mining boom town.
Mortality, especially infant and child mortality, was very high. For the Jewish community, a cemetery was a societal obligation.
The Virginia City Historic Jewish Cemetery is dated from the 1860s, just after the B’nai B’rith Lodge # 52 was established. It is sited adjacent to the famed Comstock silver mining Boom Town.
In the mid-1960s, a hate crime left the cemetery with one marker out of 24 interments.
For many years, the Jewish cemetery stood simultaneously as a reminder of American Western diversity and, as the Comstock Cemetery Foundation observed, “as a disgrace upon those with no tolerance.”
In 2021, a shidduch, to do good, to do the right thing, was arranged between JASHP and the CCF to restore, with dignity, the Historic site.
The CCF first obtained permission from the Federal Bureau of Land Management, which controls the site today. They devoted 100s of hours of research and work. The CCF’s efforts were imbued with a sense of mission.
The Jewish cemetery was restored.
The Virginia City Historic Jewish Cemetery will be rededicated in a ceremony of history and honored remembrance on October 2.
For more information, please contact the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation – Jashp1@msn.com, and the Comstock Cemetery Foundation – firstname.lastname@example.org.