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Vandals Hit Jewish Cemetery, Synagogue

April 18, 1998|Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Mikveh Israel Cemetery, the oldest Jewish site in the city, has been vandalized along with the nearby synagogue B'nai Abraham.

Vandals painted a swastika on a sign outside the cemetery and on the side of the synagogue. In addition, they propped a pig's head on the synagogue's outside wall. In Jewish dietary law, pigs are regarded as unclean animals, unfit for consumption.

The cemetery, founded in 1738, is part of Independence National Historical Park. It contains graves or markers of such distinguished American Jews as Nathan Levy, whose ship carried the Liberty Bell to Philadelphia; Haym Salomon, a patriot and financier of the American Revolution; and Rebecca Gratz, believed to be Sir Walter Scott's model for Rebecca in the novel "Ivanhoe."

Levy acquired the ground from William Penn, who founded Pennsylvania as a land of religious freedom and tolerance.

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