Waukegan, IL news: Rededication held after tombstone at Jemaat Am Echod Jewish Cemetery defaced with swastika

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (WLS) — Months after a historic Jewish cemetery was vandalized, the northern suburbs community came together for a special re-ordination.

Dozens gathered to remember their loved ones and pray for a world without hatred.

Waukegan city leaders, along with the Am Echad Congregation, held a special consecration ceremony for the historic Jewish cemetery which was vandalized last year.

“Everyone, regardless of background, whatever religion, whatever, we must respect those who came before us and their memory,” said Victory Elbrecht, who was visiting loved ones.

Last November, a vandal or vandal painted a swastika on a tombstone. ABC7 Chicago blurs the images.

On Sunday, congregations remember their loved ones, replacing symbols of hate with symbols of love and unity.

“We are here to dedicate this space again, renewed safety, security, a living example of the efforts made to stand with us in times of need,” said Rabbi Andrew Bossov.

SEE ALSO: Tombstone defaced with swastika at Jewish cemetery in Waukegan

The person or persons responsible have not been caught.

“I hope they will be found so they can get an education about what Judaism is and what religion it is in our community and in our world,” said Jane Pickus, who attended the rededication ceremony.

The rededication ceremony is a time for reflection.

“The people whose graves they damaged were important, good, honorable people, and I doubt they would have thought of that the day they came here and desecrated these graves,” said Larry Yellen, who attended the ceremony.

The event was also one to strengthen determination.

“As long as all individuals who are against hate unite and we fight back, this latest wave of hatred and antisemitism will be overcome,” said Trent Spoolstra, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League association.

The Anti-Defamation League said last year it had the highest number of reported acts of anti-Semitism.

“Together we are showing that hatred of any kind has no home here in Waukegan,” said Waukegan Mayor Ann Taylor.