Seeking Help for a Jewish Cemetery in Poland?
The Matzevah Foundation works with our official partners to conduct cemetery restoration projects. We also work with various descendant groups and organizations who are seeking to care for a cemetery in Poland. To help you discern if the work you are looking to conduct is a possiblity for TMF, please read through the following information. If this information lines up with what you're looking to do, please send an email of inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Matzevah Foundation receives several requests each year to help with cemetery restoration projects across Poland. Due to limited resources, we cannot take on every project request we receive so we carefully consider which ones that we take on each year. We have developed a process by which we consider each Jewish cemetery restoration project as a means to determine our potential projects each year.
Historically, our board begins making plans for the upcoming summer of work in October. At this time, we review all project opportunities that we have been presented, including the projects that we are carrying over from the previous year.
Project Budget and Volunteers
During the early stages of planning, we begin to develop a project budget and determine how we can partner financially with descendants and others to do the work. We do not generally have funds to cover all of a project’s needs. We depend upon working with descendant’s groups, collecting project fees, and donations to assist in the work.
We assess each volunteer who participates in a cemetery restoration project a fee of $300 (USD) and it goes towards the overall project budget. The basic project budget includes vehicle rental for tool transport, fuel, tool maintenance, and housing and meals for the project coordinator. Generally, the budget for a basic Jewish cemetery restoration project is between $1,500 and $2,500 (USD). We cannot commit to a project unless these costs are covered either by raising the funds, assessing a project fee, or by someone donating and designating funds for the specific project.
Our work depends on volunteers: Jewish, Christian and others. These volunteers may originate from the Jewish diaspora, the US, or the local Polish community. Volunteers gather together for a week-long project to clean and clear a Jewish cemetery.
Criteria for Consideration
TMF uses three primary criteria by which we assess each potential project. In our work, we would like to undertake:
Projects that involve the community in and around the Jewish cemetery
Projects that allow us to partner with Jewish individuals and/or organizations
Projects that involve education
Here are a series of questions that will assist us in considering a proposed Jewish Cemetery restoration project:
Please share with us your story. We would like to know more about you and why this cemetery is important to you. What information can you share about the cemetery?
Are you willing to organize a group of descendants or a group of people to work with us to complete the project?
Can you assist in raising funds for the project?
How large is the cemetery? How many hectares is it?
We need to know who the owner of the cemetery is. Is it owned by a private owner? Is it the government or the Jewish community? This is important in gaining permission to clean and clear the cemetery of debris.
Are there any local people who may be interested in participating in the project? This could be school teachers, activists, or community organizations.
Do you know what types of hotels or other accommodations are available for the group of volunteers to stay and have their meals?
What are your long-term goals for the cemetery?
Do you wish to commemorate it in some way?
What we are interested in more than anything is working with a group of people to change the dynamic of the town and its relationship to the Jewish community and specifically the Jewish cemetery. If you could answer these questions it would be helpful for us in making a decision about partnering with you in this project.
If you feel that the work you're interested in doing to preserve a Jewish cemetery in Poland aligns with the above, please send an email to email@example.com along with your answers and thoughts to the questions above.