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Jewish Graves Defaced at Connecticut Cemetery

About a dozen gravestones were vandalized last week at the Hebrew Benefit Association Cemetery in Waterbury.

Eric Tishman, a volunteer with the Jewish Cemetery Association of Greater Waterbury said some of the toppled headstones dated back to 1948.

“We’re a small organization,” Tishman said. “We’re all volunteers. This probably represents a third of our annual budget to pay for this.”

Tishman said the repairs will cost about $9,000.

“I said, ‘Oh my God,’ said John Cochran, the owner of Cemetery Extra Care. “I said, ‘Why did people do this?”

Cochran specializes in monument restoration, repair, and cleaning. He said a job like this will take more time and effort.

“Ordinarily, I’d be able to bring a small machine in, but I can only repair a couple of these with that machine,” Cochran said. “The rest of it, I’ll have to set up a hoist system, jack [the headstones] up, shimmy them over, and then drill and pin the bottoms, and put the new glue down.” 

Besides this incident, Waterbury police told News 8 that the Jewish cemetery does not have a recent history of damage.

“It’s just a shame,” Cochran said. “It breaks my heart, really.”

The hope is that this doesn’t happen again.

“If it’s just simply kids being vandals, don’t do it,” Tishman said. “If it’s something more insidious, please think about what it is you’re doing, that you’re affecting other people.”

Police said they are not investigating the vandalism as a hate crime because they have not found any evidence of antisemitism, such as markings or spray paint.

Anyone with information is asked to call Waterbury police.

https://www.wtnh.com/news/connecticut/new-haven/headstones-vandalized-at-jewish-cemetery-in-waterbury/