B'Nai Emunah a congregation in Tulsa, Oklahoma is celebrating our 100th year
and is closely linked to the historic Jewish community of Varaklani, Latvia.
At the beginning of the last century, many of our founding families came to
Tulsa >from Varaklani. The personality of our congregation was shaped by that
immigration, and a sense of connection to Varaklani endures.
We are writing now to solicit any help in deepening our ties in a physical
way. Jews who did not flee Varaklani and who survived the first wave of
persecutions were massacred on August 4, 1941. According to the literature,
there were some 540 victims of this crime, all of whom were ultimately
buried within the confines of the Jewish cemetery. There is a stone marker
that records this event, for which the Latvian Council of Jewish Communities
may well have been responsible.
Our hope in writing is to ask anyone's help in obtaining a quantity of earth
(about a pound) >from within the gate of the cemetery, which we could
symbolically rebury in our cemetery in Tulsa. Our plan is to erect a
monument in memory of the martyrs of Varaklani, which would include as many
of the victims' names as possible. We have set aside a date in late 2016 for
the completion of this project.
We are deeply respectful of cemetery etiquette and the authority of the
Council of Jewish Communities. Jewish law is traditionally ambivalent about
the re-interment of remains, except in cases where re-burial unites
far-flung families. We would like to think that this proposal is a version
of that, and might lead to a deeper, living connection between our two
If anyone can help us, please let me know. Our synagogue would be happy to
pay for any expense in this endeavor to ship the symbolic dirt. Surely, this
is a mitzvah for anyone involved and deeply appreciated.
Please contact me directly at: email@example.com
Thank you for any help or advice/name/e-mail of any individual who can be of
JGS of Tulsa