New archway brings recognition to Jewish cemetery in South Haven – Herald Palladium

Posted By on July 10, 2022

Most South Haven residents know where Lakeview Cemetery is located. But few may realize theres another cemetery right next to it; one that observes the burial rituals of the Jewish faith.

The First Hebrew Congregation Cemetery was born out of the Jewish population that flourished in South Haven during the first half of the 20th century. Jewish people from the Chicago area came to South Haven during the summer months to vacation, and others decided to locate full time in South Haven, establishing the First Hebrew Congregation synagogue, along with summer resorts and downtown businesses.

With the dwindling of the 20th century resorts, the full-time Jewish population has also dwindled over the years, but the cemetery and synagogue remain.

Barry Fidelman, whose parents owned the popular Fidelman Resort on Phoenix Road during the heyday of Jewish summer resorts, is one longtime Jewish resident of South Haven who wants to make sure that the Jewish history in South Haven is preserved, especially in the cemetery.

These people who are buried here need to be honored, he said. We donated the cemetery property to the city. But other than the mowing the city does, theres not much other maintenance. I feel its my generations responsibility to beautify it.

Thats why he and other members of the First Hebrew Congregation synagogue board of directors decided to pay for a new archway leading to the cemetery and make several other improvements.

They approached city officials earlier this month to spend $2,150 to construct a new 12-foot arch, made of cedar and painted white, to serve as an entrance to the cemetery, off of Bailey Avenue.

When the city made maintenance upgrades to Lakeview Cemetery two years ago, the stone wall configurations were changed to prevent against erosion. One of those walls displayed a small sign leading to the Hebrew cemetery. But with the maintenance changes, the sign leading to the Jewish cemetery is more difficult to see from the roadway.

Members of the First Hebrew Congregation want to make sure that the entrance of the Jewish cemetery is more visible.

The arch, whose bottom and top portion will be enclosed in fiberglass to prevent rot, will showcase a Star of David made of steel, and the faces of lions, displayed on either side of the archway symbols of the Jewish faith.

This wooden structure will house a memorial to the past members who served in foreign wars, said Remey Rubin, president of the First Hebrew Congregation board of directors.

South Haven City Council members gave their approval on June 20 for the arch to be erected. Their approval was needed due to the citys ownership of the cemetery. The archway will be erected later this summer.

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New archway brings recognition to Jewish cemetery in South Haven - Herald Palladium

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