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Cleveland's Jewish Cemeteries
MAYFIELD CEMETERY DEEDS

 

We report on a few of our oldest cemeteries. See the list of Jewish cemeteries on the Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland website and the Life Cycle section of The Source, a Cleveland Jewish News publication.  
 

Mayfield Cemetery - 1887  10,500 burials



 

In this Google Satellite View of Mayfield Cemetery in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, north is at the left, east at the top. Coventry Road, which runs north-south, is at the top. Mayfield Road, which runs east-north-east, is in the upper right.  Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver's gravesite is in the southwest (lower right) corner, marked on this image by a small gold circle.


In 1887 Tifereth Israel (today The Temple - Tifereth Israel) was on Huron Road and East 6th and their cemetery was only a half acre, next to the Willet Street Cemetery. But a trend as old as Cleveland - the better-established residents moving east to newer housing - was accelerating as immigrants poured in to the low cost housing in the old neighborhoods. Tifereth Israel would soon buy land for a new synagogue on Willson Avenue (East 55th). Looking far ahead, they secured 20 acres of land for a cemetery on Mayfield Road, a mile beyond the city's eastern border.

The property was then in East Cleveland Township. (The hamlet of Cleveland Heights had been created in 1901, incorporated as a village in 1903, and as a city in 1921.)    

We show below a segment of an 1898 map of East Cleveland Township, showing Lake View Cemetery and its Jewish section, where Mayfield Cemetery is today. The map suggests that Mayfield Cemetery was a section of Lake View. It was independently owned by United Jewish Cemeteries. We hope to find and display the original deeds of sale.


From an 1898 map of East Cleveland Township  Cleveland Public Library Digital Collection

Three years later Anshe Chesed (today Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple), then on Scovill Avenue at East 25th and often called The Scovill Road Synagogue, joined with Tifereth Israel to form United Jewish Cemeteries to control Mayfield Cemetery. This joint control continues today.

Originally open to all Jews, members or not, the cemetery changed its rules in 1928. Burials would now be limited to members in good standing of these two Reform congregations.

Why this restriction and why in 1928?

I
n 1890 the two congregations had a total membership of less than 400 families. But the great wave of immigration (1880-1924) would cause Cleveland's Jewish population to soar - from 3,500 in 1880 to 85,000 in 1925. Many new congregations, first Orthodox, then Conservative, would form. Yet for 97 years (1851 - 1947) no new Reform congregations would be started!

By the mid-1920s the congregations - Silver's (Tifereth Israel) and Brickner's (Anshe Chesed) as many called them - were among the nation's largest, with a combined membership of more than 4,000 families. From this we infer that while in the early years the cemetery's 20 acres would have been seen as more space than they would ever need, by 1928 it was regarded as not having enough room for nonmembers.


 Credits:     Streetcar page: Pat Corrigan
 

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