Nowhere Near Capacity

During the council budget hearing the other night there was some discussion about the Jewish cemetery on East Milan Road. I thought that sounded interesting, so when I was at the historical society today to talk about a story I asked about the cemetery. There are two, in fact, I was told, both side by side. One is German and the other is Russian. I couldn’t remember which was which, but based strictly on the names I think the German one is to the north. I was driving past to take a photo of something else and I decided to stop. While there I noticed something interesting: the cemetery is 3/4 empty. They built it with the expectation Berlin would continue to grow and thrive, and the Jewish population would grow and thrive right along with it.

I did see a newer headstone in the Russian section, but it was most of them were decades or more old. Even the cemeteries stagnated in the 1950s, it seems.

But the Hebrew inscribed gravestones are a testament to the city’s vibrant past. Today the nearest synagogue is in Bethlehem, but the history of Judaism survives in Berlin. I’ve been there a year and had never heard of it. Councilors who have lived in Berlin for decades had to be reminded of it. I imagine the treasures of the North Country will continue to reveal themselves slowly for years to come. I look forward to discovering them.

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