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A photographer discovers Jewish gravestones at a tony golf course

Ahron D. Weiner
July 21, 2009
Gravestones used as an embankment at the Woodmere Club(Ahron D. Weiner)

Gravestones used as an embankment at the Woodmere Club(Ahron D. Weiner)

As a photographer who spent years documenting Jewish sites throughout Eastern Europe, I have a perhaps heightened sensitivity to the use and misuse of Judaica. In town after town from—Prague, Czech Republic, to Uman, Ukraine, with plenty of small villages in between—I’ve found and photographed Jewish gravestones used as walls, as chimneys, and roads. So when I was walking with my 7-year-old son past the 17th hole of the Woodmere Club’s golf course, on Long Island, I was surprised to find a Star of David carved into a stone used as part of a retaining wall, protecting the course from the Reynolds Channel. I looked closer, and discovered hundreds of gravestones, many carved with Jewish names, used as embankment material. The New York Post reported on this yesterday; the club insists the stones—none of which seem to contain dates, only names and symbols—were extra granite, donated many years ago by long-dead club members. Here, for the first time, is a collection of my photos.

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