FRIENDS OF B’NAI ISRAEL CEMETERY

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Woonsocket, Rhode Island

For Jewish people, a final resting place is sacred. Not only are traditions observed through burial rituals, but by surrounding our loved ones with their spiritual community, we are preserving our religious and cultural history and connecting each of them with our future.

In 1893, a plot of uncultivated land in Woonsocket, RI was acquired, and in 1895 was consecrated as B’nai Israel Cemetery, the burial ground for a new Jewish community. By the early 20th century, Northern Rhode Island was home to a thriving Jewish population. A mix of prominent and influential leaders – known for their business acumen, creative vision, innovative development, and philanthropic generosity – as well as a cadre of middle- and working-class citizens, were born and raised in the B’nai Israel community. Many were ultimately buried in the cemetery. However, over the years, demographics shifted, and many families moved away, leaving a dwindling Jewish presence in the area. By the early 20th century, these hallowed grounds were transformed into one of the most beautiful in New England and with this final ‘piece’ in place, the Woonsocket area became home to a thriving Jewish population.