Shaarai Shomayim congregation maintains the 4th oldest Jewish cemetery in the United States.
In 1747 Joseph Simon, the most important Jew of colonial Lancaster, co-deeded the oldest section of our cemetery “in trust for the Society of Jews in and around Lancaster to have and use the same as a burying ground.” In 1903 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared that our congregation was the successor of the colonial “Society of Jews”. Over the years adjoining land has been secured. We take seriously our responsibility to honor those buried by maintaining and protecting this sacred burial ground.
BURIALS IN OUR CEMETERY
A complete listing of the almost 700 burials in our cemetery dating from 1753 can be found on these two websites: Findagrave.com and JewishGen.org. Both websites are free to use but may require registration. In addition to tombstone inscriptions, they may include tombstone and deceased photos, full dates of birth and death, place of birth and death and links to parents and spouse. They both have excellent search engines. Findagrave.com will also allow you to add photos of the deceased and by their edit process add obituaries, notes and corrections. Within the Jewishgen.org website the “burial registry” is under the Databases tab.
In addition the Temple office has a hard copy of our census.
Findagrave.com also has the burials for local Orthodox congregation Degel Israel (from the late 1800's) and Conservative congregation Beth El (from the mid 1940's).