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28 January 2014

The Kelly Street Historic Jewish Cemeteries of Indianapolis, Indiana

By the middle of the 19th century, the population of the city of Indianapolis, Indiana included a large German community. Sometime shortly before 1856, the earliest of the Jewish settlers in Indianapolis also made this community their home. In 1856, the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation (IHC) was formed, which became the first in the city.As the congregation grew older it became necessary to buy land for the burials of its members and
that they did so. A large piece of land  was purchased on Kelly Street.

Over time, especially with the immigration from Eastern Europe in the 1880s, more and more immigrants meant more synagogues. They all needed to have their own burial grounds, so land was sold to them by IHC. This led to the land actually become not one but eight burial grounds serving the various Jewish Congregations. Those congregations were;
  • Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation 
  • Shara Tefilo                                     
  • Ohev Zedeck                                     
  • Knesses Israel                                  
  • United Hebrew Congregation           
  • Esras Achem                                   
  • Congregation Etz Haim Sefarad    
  • Congregation Beth-El Zedeck          
Beginning in 2006 the Kelly Street Historic Jewish Cemetery project was formed. Under the direction of Gloria Green, the project leader, teams set out to document and photograph the records of the burials in these historical cemeteries located on Kelly Street. Their incredible work has led to having the information on over 5,600 burials preserved for future generations. Thanks to their service to the Jewish community of Indianapolis and the world, these great people, who have passed, will never be forgotten.

I am also extremely humbled to have had a copy of this project donated to the Knowles Collection- Jews of North America. It will be available for all after the next update.

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