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Re-dedication of Desecrated Jewish Cemetery in University City Scheduled for Sunday

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UNIVERSITY CITY, MO - Six months after it was desecrated by vandals, a historic Jewish cemetery in University City will host a re-dedication ceremony.
The event, scheduled for Sunday, August 6, marks a new chapter for the sacred space.

“We can end this in a positive way with the community and the support of all communities,” Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery Director Anita Feigenbaum said Friday.

In February, vandals toppled over more than 150 headstones at the cemetery, located on Olive Boulevard. The incident came at a time when bomb threats were being phoned in to Jewish community centers across the country.

No arrests were ever made for the incident at Chesed Shel Emeth, and police said there was not enough evidence to determine a hate crime had been committed.
“I remember it being very distressing. And emotional,” Feigenbaum said.

The re-dedication will honor those who were buried at the cemetery. It will also highlight the widespread community support during the immediate aftermath of the vandalism.
Hundreds of volunteers contributed time and money to restore the cemetery. More than $200,000 was raised to go toward security upgrades.

“First at Chesed Shel Emeth, where the desecration happened. And then throughout the entire community, of all the cemetery properties -to make sure they’re as safe as they can be, at the same time, respecting the fact that we live in an open society,” Andrew Rehfeld said. Rehfeld is the President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis.

The re-dedication ceremony will take place at 10:30 am Sunday. It is open to the public.

A $10,000 reward is still being offered for any information leading to a conviction in the case.