, , , ,

So many gravestone photos. You have to lift up
a cover to see the picture on the left.

A conference brought me to Grand Forks, North Dakota, last week and of course I had to do some cemetery exploration. It was a pleasant surprise to find Montefiore Cemetery, a small Jewish cemetery on the city’s north side.

The cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places. I learned that Grand Forks had the largest Jewish population in North Dakota in the late 1800s.


The cemetery is located on the northeast corner of Highway 2 and Columbia Road. It’s a small cemetery surrounded by pine trees. Half of it is covered with close-set gravestones, and the other half is open. The once-thriving Jewish community in the late 1800s had diminished quite a bit by the mid-20th century, and the space that the founders had planned for didn’t need to be used.


The closeness of gravestones in a Jewish cemetery
always strikes me as unique.

Most of the writing on the gravestones is in Hebrew. Some are entirely Hebrew, while the newer monuments have a mix of English and Hebrew.

This is a beautiful cemetery with beautiful markers, a testament to a civic-minded community that produced leaders in Grand Forks and greater North Dakota.


I love how the mother’s gravestone stands taller than the son’s. The son died in WWII. The mother had died a couple of years before him, and the inscription says, “May her soul be bound in the bond of the living,” which I took to mean her son.


This is the gravestone with the picture of the woman on the top left of this post. Try as I might, I could not budge open her husband’s picture.

Photos by author.