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Chambersburg is a small town in South Central Pennsylvania not far from the Maryland state line. Jews first came to Chambersburg in 1784. By 1837 at least a dozen Jewish families lived in the area. In 1840, a Jewish burial society was organized. In 1844 the cemetery was first used when several graves were relocated there and was in use until the early part of the 20th century. Not enough Jewish families lived in town to formally organize a Jewish congregation until around WWI when the Sons of Israel congregation was incorporated. The small, but active Jewish congregation was incorporated in 1919. A church was purchased and remodeled as the synagogue.  . 

Israel Benevolent Society Cemetery: founded 1844. aka Old Jewish Cemetery. 361 E. Washington St.

Congregation of Sons of Israel. "There are about 75 people buried in the small 42-by-264-foot cemetery. At least one Confederate soldier, Isaac Burgauer of Arkansas, is buried in the cemetery. He was transported there by horse and carriage and buried after his death July 19, 1863, according to Wolfson." Source: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . The "old" Jewish burial ground was restored in 2000 and historical markers placed on the site. It does not appear to have been used since the time of World War I. [updated July 2012]

News story [January 2001]

Dating from 1840, the Old Jewish Cemetery of Chambersburg is believed to be the earliest Jewish burial ground west of the Susquehanna. After almost a century of neglect, the cemetery was restored in 1988 and again in 2000. The epitaphs were documented in 2006. The site has information on t19th-century southern Pennsylvania and northern Maryland.  history, burial list, and much more. [December 2007]

Lincoln Cemetery: Jewish Section: 948 Lincoln Way East, Established 1955 by the present Jewish congregation. [January 2006]


Photos of Old Jewish Cemetery courtesy Julian Preisler [July 2012], who wrote:

"The(se photos) are of the 'old' Jewish burial ground in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. It is the oldest Jewish cemetery west of the Susquehanna River and, I believe, the 2nd oldest in Pennsylvania. They were taken on July 25th."


Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 19:39
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