Jewish Identity and Concepts of Tradition: An Archaeological and Ethnographic Study in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Friedman, Lindsey Gayle
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Everyday in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, people drive past the Shaarai Shomayim cemetery without ever noticing it. Hidden amongst houses and businesses, the cemetery extends from Liberty Street to the railroad tracks; only visible to those who know where to look. Occasionally, noise from the surrounding area drifts in, but otherwise it feels like a calm and quiet bubble of space. From the gates only the most modern graves can be seen; however, about 500 feet into the cemetery, back toward the railroad tracks, there is a path that clearly divides the cemetery into two sections. The section on the Liberty Street side of the path contains only graves less than one hundred years old, whereas the section on the railroad side of the path contains very few graves that young. The younger gravestones are all of similar colors, shapes, and sizes. Even the inscriptions seem uniform. The graves are often marked with the Star of David or a Menorah but little else identifies these graves as Jewish. In comparison, the older graves are more personal because there is no uniformity in design or writing. The higher prevalence of Hebrew and Judaic symbols engraved on the older gravestones clearly identifies the deceased as Jewish.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2006
- F&M Theses Collection