Restoration of the Cemetery
On my initial visit to the Jewish Cemetery in Obeliai, it had been neglected for decades, although left undeveloped by the local community, out of respect. Only 12 headstones were standing and visible in waist-high (wet!) grass.
Rabbi Mayer Abramowitz worked tirelessly for several years to renovate the Jewish cemetery at Obeliai. His relentless fundraising and personal sacrifice was needed, as the work costed out at USD45 per headstone.
By 2003, over 200 had been righted and recorded and the grass had been cut. A small wooden fence was also placed around the cemetery. Rabbi Abramowitz even managed to arrange a small rededication ceremony on 7 July 2003, at which representatives from the US and British Embassies were present, along with the Mayoress of Obeliai, and the Rabbi for the district. A large proportion of the village's (now all non-Jewish) population, including the schoolchildren and their teacher, and the curator of the town museum, also came to pay their respects.
Rabbi Abramowitz and a fellow Abeler (Abel descendant!) tried to set up a committee to ensure the maintenance of the cemetry for the future, so that it would not slip back into the neglect of the past. Anyone interested in contributing either time or money is asked to please contact Emma via the link at the bottom of the page and she will put you in touch.
Ruta Anulyte visited the cemetery in Autumn 2015 and has kindly shared the photos she took.
If you have any names, corrections, questions, comments or photographs of Obeliai as it was in the past or as it is now that you would like to share, or if you have found a connection here you would like to follow up, please contact Emma Freeman by clicking here or click on the Obeliai homepage to join our mailing list
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