21 July 2009

New York: Golf course gravestones

UPDATE: Ahron Weiner, who first found the gravestones, has today written a piece (with photos) for Tablet Magazine on his visit to Woodmere. Read his story here.

A troubling discovery of Jewish gravestones at Long Island's private Woodmere Club golf course was reported by the New York Post, and may spark an investigation.

Partially engraved Jewish tombstones are holding up parts of the golf course against Reynolds Channel, according to the story.

Some have Stars of David at the water's edge; others with such names as Morris Gutterman, Ira Feinberg and Hyman Friedman are near the clubhouse, while others have only monograms or single surnames. None have visible dates.

Jeffrey Markinson of Silver Monument Works -- a Jewish gravestone maker on Manhattan's Lower East Side -- believes they could be discarded pieces from a manufacturer.

"I would like to think that this was extra granite," he said.

While golfers at the predominantly Jewish club rarely see the macabre piles, maintenance staffers are well aware of them.

"I've been told that they've been here for 50 or 100 years," said one groundskeeper. "No one knows where they came from, but I think we inherited them."

The worker said that course staffers avoid mentioning the mysterious markers to club members to avoid any potential controversy.

Woodmere Club general manager Donald Mollitor said that he was not aware of the stones but would look into it.
The stones were discovered by Orthodox Jewish photographer Ahron Weiner, 38, of Hewlett, who said he was stunned. He added that the stones were reminiscent of what he saw in Europe where cemetery gravestones were used as building material by Nazis.

Read the complete story at the link above.

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