Six months ago more than more 150 headstones were destroyed or toppled over at the this historic Jewish cemetery .The suspects were never caught. ”It's terrible and horrific bullying of dead people, like the worst of worst, that you could ever imagine,” said Tarek El-Messidi.
Cheseed Shel-Emeth the historic Jewish Cemetery made international headlines in February, 2017after vandals knocked over headstones. The investigation continues into whether or not the vandalism at a Jewish cemetery was a hate crime. ”Many of them had been broken, some were decades or century old ,” said Andrew Rehfeld, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis.
Hundreds of volunteers in the community gathered to help with the cleanup following the vandalism, including, Vice President Mike Pence, who made a surprise visit to the cemetery. Missouri Governor Eric Greitens invited Pence to help with repairs. Most of the headstones were fixed within days; the sanctuary was restored, as the world watched. “Within 48 hours, our community mobilized out of concern,” said Rehfeld.
Sunday dozens gathering for a re-dedication ceremony to honor the memory of those buried at the cemetery and acknowledge the community support. “When a desecration comes about, you want to re dedicate the stone. It’s a way of preserving the memory and recognizing that we are the only ones to protect was is a defenseless memory of those who have departed,” said Rehfeld.
A $10,000 reward is being offered leading to the conviction in the case.