For the third straight year, the American flags at the Adath Jeshurun cemetery in Allison Park were changed by Pittsburgh school children.
This year, sixth-graders from Community Day School went out to the cemetery on Tuesday, May 19, to change the flags on 110 graves.
“This is a fairly old cemetery and a lot of the first people who are buried there are those who came to the United States to flee the pogrom,” said Renee Abrams, chair for the Adat Jeshurun cemetery. “We gave an orientation to the children on how to properly withdraw old flags and place new flags in the holder on the graves and how to discard the old flags.”
The students were part of Bill Walter’s class from Community Day. For almost an hour and a half, the kids walked the cemetery replacing the flags to help honor those who gave so much for the United States years ago.
Clarence “Code” Gomberg, a World War II veteran who has visited cemeteries around Memorial Day for the past 60 years to help plant and replace flags on graves, accompanied the kids.
What makes the Adat Jeshurun cemetery special is that there is no more congregation. Adat Jeshurun used to be the largest Orthodox congregation in the East End. It closed in 2002 after moving to Monroeville.
However, the cemetery continues to be professionally taken care of and kept in pristine condition.
“The reason that this is such a beautiful thing, is because there is no congregation,” Abrams said. “The fact that children are reuniting their bonds with those who came before them is very important. They are honoring those who were in World War II, who were fighting for the freedom for those families that were being affected by the Holocaust. We’re so glad we are able to honor them today. It’s a beautiful link of generation from generation.”
(Mike Zoller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)