176 Tombstones Toppled at Cincinnati Jewish Cemeteries

By Reuvain Borchardt

A view of some of the toppled tombstones. (Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati)

Tombstones were toppled at two Jewish cemeteries in Cincinnati sometime during the past week, an act of “antisemitic vandalism” that has left the Jewish community “heartbroken,” the Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati (JCGC) organization said.

“We are deeply saddened and outraged to report that 176 gravestones were vandalized at the Tifereth Israel Cemetery and the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Cemetery, both at the Covedale Cemetery complex,” JCGC posted Tuesday on social media. “This act of antisemitic vandalism was uncovered early yesterday morning and has left our community heartbroken. Most of the gravestones have been pushed face down, making it challenging to identify the affected families at this time. We will inform the families as soon as we have more information.”

While the vandals did not leave any graffiti or other messages at the scene, the large number of toppled tombstones is causing authorities to investigate this as a possible hate crime, rather than just some kids acting wildly.

According to Fox 19, law enforcement has told JCGC that the vandalized headstones may not be moved or restored until the investigation, being conducted by local police and the FBI, is complete. After the investigation finishes, JCGC can begin the process of restoring the toppled stones and identify any living relatives. 

The vandalization occurred sometime after June 25 — the last time a groundskeeper mowed the lawn and saw the stones upright.

Some of the toppled tombstones are seen in the foreground. In the background, standing upright are the tombstones of Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz, founder of the iconic kosher food brand, and his wife Chaia Nescha.

Rabbi AD Motzen, a Cincinnati resident who serves as Agudath Israel’s National Director of Government Affairs, told Hamodia, “It is upsetting that there are people with such deep hatred for Jews that they won’t even let the dead rest in peace. We are grateful that the FBI is investigating and taking this as seriously as this crime deserves.”

The cemetery, which dates back to the late 1800’s, is the final resting place of some of Cincinnati’s prominent Jewish historical figures.

The graves of Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz, founder of the iconic kosher food brand who passed away in 1914, and his wife Chaia Nescha, are right near the toppled tombstones, but theirs were unharmed.


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