Historic Lakeview Jewish Cemetery In Need Of Cleanup

Steve Miller
August 20, 2019 - 5:00 pm

Steve Miller/ WBBM

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- It is believed to be the oldest Jewish cemetery in Chicago - dating back to 1851 - and half of it has been overgrown and basically abandoned for the past several years.  But now that may change.

The half of the Jewish Graceland Cemetery, located on Clark Street in Lakeview just south of Irving Park Road, that hasn't been abandoned is maintained by the Hebrew Benevolent Society of Chicago.

The other half is actually owned by someone but not maintained by them.

"Several months ago during a big storm, one of the trees was hit and is just hanging on by a limb," said Edie Eiseman, who, along with her sister Cathy Horwitz, leads the Hebrew Benevolent Society. 

The Cook County Sheriff's office has taken on the job of trying to keep the grass trimmed when it can and is also trying to shepherd through a transfer of the abandoned half to the organization.

"Over the last couple of weeks we've had some momentum in the right direction," said Cook County Detective Sgt. Jason Moran, adding that there may soon be an agreement for a transfer, which the sisters will be glad to see.

"It's history. It's Chicago. It's religion. It's people. It's respect. It's all the good things," Horwitz said.

Cathy Horwitz (left) and Edie Eiseman, the two sisters who lead the Hebrew Benevolent Society of Chicago, stand in front of a damaged tree at Jewish Graceland Cemetery.
Cathy Horwitz and Edie Eiseman, the two sisters who lead the Hebrew Benevolent Society of Chicago, stand in front of a damaged tree at Jewish Graceland Cemetery.