2. The First Cemetery of Congregation Shearith Israel, Manhattan

shearith-israel-cemetary-plaqueA plaque sitting at the entrance of the first Shearith Israel Cemetery on St. Jame’s Place in Lower Manhattan. Photo by Justin Rivers.

In 1682, the the congregation Shearith Israel synagogue purchased land at Chatham Square near Chinatown. Thus, this cemetery, also called the Chatham Square Cemetery, dates back to 1683 and was the first of the three cemeteries from the congregation Shearith Israel that we mentioned early in this list. It is the oldest Jewish cemetery in North America and contains the bodies of 22 Revolutionary War veterans and the first American-born rabbi. It stopped operating in 1828.

Over the years, segments of the graveyard were taken by various nearby developments. For example, in 1855, 256 graves were moved when the Bowery expanded.