The Cape Board works for all Jews in the Western Cape, not just for those living in the big city, and we were shocked last December to learn of the desecration at the Wellington Jewish Cemetery.
Most of the 63 Graves in the Jewish Cemetery had been damaged, many of the tombstones were broken in half; some had been smashed into even smaller fragments. The community, led by members of the Paarl congregation, jumped into action to ensure that the site would once more be a secure and dignified resting place for their family members.
Members from Paarl and Wellington, together with representatives from the Cape Board, got together to engage with local government, get costings and quotes for the repair work, and discuss the fundraising that would be needed. The working team met on site in May to see the work that was on the go and it owes a debt of gratitude to Mark Kaufman and other members of the Paarl Jewish Community who have put a great deal of time and energy into the Wellington Cemetery restoration project.
The tombstones will now be laid at a slight angle in a bed of concrete in a manner that minimises chances of vandalism in the future. To date we have secured the tombstones and started repair work on the worst damaged graves.
The task team has held multiple meetings with the local council and have been informed that the council will build a new outer perimeter wall.
The Wellington Cemetery Restoration Project needs the help of the community with the most critical element of the project; that being the contact details of relatives of those buried at the cemetery.