Long forgotten except by a few old time residents was the existence
of a Jewish burial ground a short distance from the main cemetery. In
1980's the site was shown to Jewish visitors from Maryland, Israel Rubin,
his family and a friend Judge C. Lawrence Huerta a full blooded Yaqui
Indian from Tucson. Huerta was moved to restore the site when Israel
Rubin recited the traditional kaddish prayer.
"I'm an American Indian who spent many years in Washington D.C., working
on behalf of my people," he said. "There the Rubin family made me part of
them. The state of the Jewish Cemetery at Boothill moved me deeply. A burial
place is sacred to my people, and I wanted this place to be treated with
the respect it once had. In honoring my Jewish brothers I feel I am also
honoring the lost and forgotten bones of my own people who lay where they
fell when the west was being settled."
With the help of the Jewish Friendship Club of Green Valley Arizona and
the approval of the Tombstone City Council a fence was put up to enclose the
area and a memorial was erected to honor the unknown Jews buried there.
You can see the stones placed on the memorial by the many Jewish visitors
since the site was rededicated in 1984. Many of them probably recited the
Mourner's Kaddish as we did. The Kaddish is printed in Hebrew and
Yinglish on the back page of the 8x11 handout which we were given when we
asked about the "Jewish Memorial" on the Cemetery sign.
(by the way it seems that this story appeared in the Congressional Record
March 28,1984 and The New York Times on February 28,1984 but we missed it.
A copy of the Congressional Record excerpt was included in the handout)
The platform is faced with rock from nearby silver mines. It bears on its
east and west side the Star of David. On the South side seen in the picture
is a HoHokam Indian sun-symbol -- the word meaning "those who vanished"
in the Papago Indian language. Inside are representative Jewish and Indian
religious items including soil from Israel. The flames of the "menorah"
atop the monument spell "Shalom".
There were no markers on any of the graves, only the crumbling adobe walls
marked the spot.
We left Tombstone the next morning and traveled to Yuma to determine its
suitability as a place for us to winter. While there we
visited the Yuma Territorial Prison State Park another memory of mine from
watching all those westerns as a kid.
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