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Jewish Bicentennial To 'Weave Our Communities Into A Larger And Stronger Tapestry'

Small cemetery with stone headstones. A tall brick wall borders two sides and a brick building on the other side. New plantings in the foreground.
Tana Weingartner
A formal re-dedication of the oldest Jewish cemetery west of the Alleghenies, Chestnut Street Cemetery, is set for Sept. 26, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.

Cincinnati's Jewish community marks its 200th anniversary this month with the launch of a 14-month bicentennial celebration. Events are planned now through Oct. 2022.

Danielle Minson, president of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, says the bicentennial will "weave our communities into a larger and stronger tapestry."

The purpose of the bicentennial celebration is "to elevate, inspire and connect our communities, the Cincinnati community, with each other and to tell some stories," adds bicentennial co-chair, Tamara Harkavy.

It's designed to be a way to learn about Jewish history and the modern communities, organizers say. It's also a way to prepare for the future and the next 200 years.

"We don't know what stories will be told 100 years from now," says supporter Kay Geiger, Regional PNC President. "I think we have a responsibility collectively as a community to make sure we tell that story of today and the past so that the next 200 years will have the opportunity to have a Jewish community that is vibrant and full of wonderful, wonderful people and families that contribute so greatly."

The launch was announced in front of the newly refurbished Chestnut Street Cemetery in the West End's Betts-Longworth Historic District. Its founding in 1821 marks the beginning of Jewish communal life in Cincinnati.

The cemetery's re-dedication is set for Sept. 26, and will officially begin the bicentennial events.

Jewish Cincinnati Bicentennial is a financial supporter of Cincinnati Public Radio.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.