History of our organization
A group of concerned citizens with roots in the Jewish community of Middlesex County formed Friends for Preservation of Middlesex County Jewish Cemeteries, Inc., as a new nonprofit organization, incorporated in February 2005, to restore and maintain the Jewish cemeteries owned by Congregation Shaarey Tefiloh in Perth Amboy, NJ. The organizers united because they shared a concern for the future of these historic cemeteries and a realization that past funds had become insufficient to provide necessary maintenance forever. These Middlesex County Jewish cemeteries, now owned by the Shaarey Tefiloh Cemetery Association, represent the final resting place for members of the Jewish community of yesteryear, including former community leaders, relatives and friends of the organizers of this group, and many who left no survivors.
By networking to locate and contact many individuals with roots in the Jewish community of Perth Amboy and surrounding towns, our organization grew very quickly. Many people reached out to help by committing time or financial support or both to help the cause. Others helped by identifying and locating others who were willing to help. Insufficient funding for long-term maintenance is a common problem that many cemeteries face. However, most relatives of those buried at these cemeteries have been eager to honor the memories of the deceased with both immediate and long-term plans to enhance the beauty and dignity of these final resting places. Most people have viewed this as much more than a fundraising project. They have seen it, instead, as a wonderful opportunity to renew old friendships, to remember our heritage, and to honor the memory of our loved ones. People have found it exciting and rewarding to reconnect with friends from their youths and to recall what it was like growing up in Perth Amboy and the neighboring communities.
This organization has enabled people to come together as a community for the community. Those with roots in the Jewish community of Middlesex County have united to honor those who devoted their lives to the Jewish community of yesteryear.
Since incorporation in February 2005, our organization has raised awareness, interest, and funds. Our organization launched this Web site in September 2005, published its first newsletter in Spring 2006, and began a series of regular cemetery tours in March 2006. Since inception, our organization has provided significant support for the maintenance of these cemeteries. The tours have enabled visitors to locate the graves of their ancestors, to connect with their relatives, and to observe our progress in maintaining the cemeteries.
In September 2019, our organization expanded its mission and changed its name to Friends of New Jersey Jewish Cemeteries, Inc. We joined with neighboring colleagues in Essex, Bergen, Union, and Middlesex Counties to raise funds for Jewish cemeteries in Newark, North Arlington, Kenilworth, Perth Amboy, Woodbridge, and South Plainfield.
Friends of New Jersey Jewish Cemeteries, Inc. is a federally tax-exempt organization as determined by the Internal Revenue Service under Section 501(c)(3). All contributions are tax-deductible as provided by law.