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Organized by Linda Sarsour

Muslims Unite to Repair Jewish Cemetery

$162,368

raised of 0 USD goal

4858 supporters, Project Closed
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Impact: University City, MO

Registered 501(c)(3)

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This campaign will collect all funds raised by June 1, 2017 at 3:45 AM EDT

Muslim Americans Help Repair Anti-Semitic Vandalism of Historic Jewish Cemetery


Muslims Unite to Repair Jewish Cemeteries

  • UPDATE  1 (Feb 21, 5:00 PM EST): We are overjoyed to reach our $20,000 goal in only three hours. Additional funds raised will assist other vandalized Jewish centers nationwide (read more below). 
  • UPDATE  2 (Feb 22, 2:00 PM EST): We've raised $80,000 in the first 24 hours! That's four times the goal - raising $1,000 every 20 minutes. We are also grateful to all the media covering this story (see media coverage below).
  • UPDATE  3 (Feb 26, 10:00 PM EST): We were just informed of another Jewish cemetery - in Philadelphia - where 400+ graves have been vandalized. Tarek El-Messidi visited the Philly cemetery on Sunday (see his video here) and is in touch with the local Jewish Federation and Rabbis. We also plan to allocate funds to help repair Philadelphia's cemetery. 
  • UPDATE  4 (March 9, 11:00 PM EST): Today we gave an initial $40,000 check to the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in St. Louis, covering all costs to repair and replace damaged headstones. We also sent a $5,000 check to the Chicago Loop Synagogue to help repair recent anti-Semitic vandalism.
  • UPDATE 5 (March 24): With extra funds raised, we have decided to embark on a major project to restore a neglected and vandalized Jewish cemetery in Colorado which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Costs will be over $100K. Learn about the story of this historic cemetery here. We are now hoping to raise a total of $200,000 to ensure we have the funds for this project while helping other vandalized sites as well. 
  • UPDATE 6 (July 12): Though our campaign ended on May 31, we will be posting regular fund disbursement updates at least monthly. We have just posted on Facebook regarding the initial fund disbursement and progress on the Golden Hill Cemetery restoration project. See that post here. Below is a picture from Tarek's recent tour in April of the Golden Hill Cemetery in Denver: 


  • November 2017: CelebrateMercy sent an initial $30,000 to Golden Hill Cemetery (Denver, Colorado) for the first phase of their cemetery restoration project. See more detailed update on Facebook here

  • March 2018: CelebrateMercy sent another check of of $15,000 to Golden Hill Cemetery (Denver, Colorado) for the second phase of their cemetery restoration project. 

  • November 20, 2018: CelebrateMercy has mailed a check of $10,000 today to the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. These funds are meant for the synagogue to make building repairs in the wake of the mass shooting there on October 27, 2018. This brings the grand total of fund disbursements to $110,000 thus far with about $52,000 left to disburse to other vandalized Jewish centers / institutions.

  • March 20, 2019: CelebrateMercy mailed a check of $5,000 today to the Hebrew Cemetery in Fall River, MA. These funds are meant for the cemetery to make any repairs needed after the vandalism that happened there earlier this week (see article on this here). 

  • April 30, 2019: CelebrateMercy received a beautiful letter from The Hebrew Cemetery as a thank you for the funds sent last month (See the letter here). Heartfelt Thank you Jeffrey Weissman, and all the congregation from the CelebrateMercy Team!

  • November 15, 2019: CelebrateMercy mailed a check of $5,000 today to the Temple Israel Cemetery in Omaha, Nebraska. These funds are meant for the cemetery to make any repairs needed after the vandalism that took place there recently where about 75 headstones were overturned. Funds can also be used to upgrade the cemetery's security. (see article on the vanadalism here). 

  • September, 2021: The Golden Hill Cemetery (Denver, Colorado) sent  us the following pictures of a plaque installed at the entrance of the cemetery, in tribute to CelebrateMercy, next to the a plaque that shows that the cemetery is on the national register of historic places:





  • Stay Tuned: Check this page for updates as we distribute funds to help the vandalized cemeteries and centers and as we update media links below. 

Resources

Jewish Cemeteries Desecrated

On the heels of bomb threats and hate crimes against dozens of Jewish community centers across the United States, a historical Jewish cemetery was vandalized this past weekend when over 150 headstones were damaged in St. Louis. Muslim Americans stand in solidarity with the Jewish-American community to condemn this horrific act of desecration against the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery. We also condemn a second attack - a few days later - against a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia where an estimated 500 graves have been desecrated. We extend our deepest condolences to all those who have been affected and to the Jewish community at large. 

The Campaign

In a campaign organized by Linda Sarsour of MPower Change and Tarek El-Messidi of CelebrateMercy, the Muslim-American community extends its hands to help rebuild this sacred space where Jewish-American families have laid their loved ones to rest since the late 1800's. Campaign proceeds will go directly to the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in light of the recent damage. Any remaining funds will be allocated to help upgrade their site-wide security system and repair any other vandalized Jewish centers - such as the recently vandalized Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. 

Is It Not A Human Soul?

While these senseless acts have filled us with sorrow, we reflect on the message of unity, tolerance, and mutual protection found in the Constitution of Medina: an historic social contract between the Medinan Jews and the first Muslim community. We are also inspired by the example of our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, who stood up to pay respects for a passing Jewish funeral procession. When questioned on why he stood for a Jewish funeral, he responded, "Is it not a human soul?" [Source: Bukhari]. 

A Message of Unity

Through this campaign, we hope to send a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities that there is no place for this type of hate, desecration, and violence in America. We pray that this restores a sense of security and peace to the Jewish-American community who has undoubtedly been shaken by this event. 

For inquiries, email cemetery@celebratemercy.com

Media Coverage (updated daily)

Click the links below:


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    Communities


    Updates 5

    Linda Sarsour2 months ago

    Imam Shafi'i about tonight

    Salam,

    Imam Shafi'i said that there are 5 nights when duas are accepted. Tonight - the 1st night of Eid - is one of them. 

    CelebrateMercy is hosting a special Ramadan Farewell Dua session tonight to close out the month of Ramadan. Shaykh Yasir Fahmy will give final advice as we bid farewell to Ramadan then lead us in a dua in Arabic and English, begging Allah to accept our Ramadan worship; he'll also read dua requests from the audience. We expect thousands to tune in insha-Allah. Please see the flyer, info, and RSVP link below:


    PS: CelebrateMercy is struggling to reach the finish line with our annual Ramadan fundraiser (we're at 90%). If you have benefited from our programs (80 webinars in 30 days) and you can help us sustain them year-round, please consider donating. We also send beautiful appreciation gifts to donors. It would be amazing to hit our goal by Eid day. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions, and please remember the CelebrateMercy team in your dua!

    Salaam, 

    The CelebrateMercy Team



    Linda Sarsour2 years ago

    Re: A request (4 Albuquerque murders)

    Dear Donor,


    In 2017, you donated to support our CelebrateMercy campaign: Muslims Unite to Repair Jewish Cemetery. Thank you for being a part of raising over $160,000 to help repair hundreds of vandalized graves at Jewish cemeteries across the U.S.


    I'm part of the CelebrateMercy team and wanted to inform you of our new campaign: raising funds for families of the 4 Muslim shooting victims in New Mexico. A horrific string of killings has recently taken the lives of four Muslim men in Albuquerque. Initial reports suggest that anti-Shia hatred may have played a role in these murders. We are now raising funds for the four victims' families; so far, we've raised $20,000 in the first 2 days! Our goal is to raise $40,000. 



    Though CelebrateMercy is a Sunni-led Muslim organization, we invited collaboration with Sunni and Shia organizations on this campaign - as well as friends of other faiths. To date, 10 organizations and many Muslim leaders have endorsed this campaign.  See the official flyer below. You can learn more, volunteer and donate here: LaunchGood.com/ABQ


    If you have any questions, do not hesitate to email me back.


    Assalamu Alaykum (peace be with you), 


    Hasnaa Agouzoul

    Operations Manager, CelebrateMercy

    Linda Sarsour2 years ago

    Update: A request (slain Texas teachers)

    Dear Generous Donor,

    In February 2017, you donated to support our CelebrateMercy campaign: Muslims Unite to Repair Jewish Cemetery. Thank you for being a part of raising over $160,000 to help repair anti-Semitic vandalism of a historic Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, MO and other vandalized Jewish cemeteries.

    I'm part of the CelebrateMercy team and wanted to make sure you heard about our new campaign: raising funds for the families of the fallen teachers in Uvalde, Texas after last week's mass shooting at the elementary school. Last Tuesday, two teachers were killed while attempting to protect their students from gunfire; they left behind 5 children of their own who have now lost a mother and provider. One teacher's husband also just passed away from a heart attack; relatives said that he died of a broken heart only two days after his wife was killed. 

    This campaign met the fundraising goal of $20,000 in less than 20 hours and continues to increase. Though it's a Muslim-led campaign, friends of all faiths are encouraged to support it. See the official flyer below. You can learn more, volunteer and donate here: LaunchGood.com/Uvalde

    Image from iOS (4).jpg

    If you have any questions, do not hesitate to email me back.

    Sending you greetings of peace,

    CelebrateMercy Team
    Linda Sarsour7 years ago

    3 Updates: WPR Interview, Synagogue Attacked, STL

    Peace be with you all, 

    Below are three quick updates on our campaign to raise funds for vandalized Jewish cemeteries and centers nationwide. Please note that the campaign is still active and receiving donations at launchgood.com/cemetery

    TODAY: Live Interview

    Tune in online - today (Tuesday) at 3 PM EST - when both Linda Sarsour and I will be interviewed live on Wisconsin Public Radio. WPR is the nation's second largest public radio network with an average weekly listening audience of 490,000 across five states. The program will be a 1-hour, live listener call-in program. Please spread the word that anyone can tune in live online here: bit.ly/WPR-live.

    A Vandalized Synagogue

    We just learned of a Chicago synagogue that was vandalized last month (story here). A huge window was smashed and swastika stickers were placed at the entrance. We have reached out to the synagogue's management and plan to send a check for at least $2,000 to cover repairs. This donation will come from the additional funds we've raised through our campaign. 

    St. Louis Visit

    This Wednesday, I'm flying out to St. Louis for two reasons. First, on Wednesday at 7 PM, I'll be speaking at the Washington University in St. Louis in a moderated discussion with Andrew Rehfeld - CEO of the St. Louis Jewish Federation. The event is entitled Jews and Muslims Turn Hate to Humanity. Learn more about the event here and RSVP on Facebook here. Below is the flyer image: 


    On Thursday morning, I will be visiting the vandalized cemetery in St. Louis to give the first round of donations to the cemetery's management. This will be about $40,000 that will go towards replacing and repairing damaged headstones. We are so grateful that our campaign is covering all repair costs for the families whose family members are buried there. We also intend to help the cemetery with a major security upgrade to their site (more on that later). 

    More Volunteers Needed 

    CelebrateMercy is looking for more volunteers who can help further amplify and spread the campaign. Even if you can only give 30 minutes of your time, perhaps by forwarding an email about the campaign or tweeting about it to journalists and celebrities, your help is needed.

    From past experience with similar campaigns, I've seen that when many people begin to tweet a story to journalists, producers, and celebrities, they definitely take notice. They often retweet or decide to cover the story. With more exposure given to this beautiful initiative, we'll see even more donations, more hearts healed, and more bridges built between Jewish and Muslim communities. 

    To learn more on how you can volunteer, please fill out this quick volunteer form: bit.ly/m4j-help. We will then send detailed instructions on where to begin. 

    Thank You

    Thank you again for responding to our call, a human call, to help our Jewish cousins restore the graves of their loved ones. Together, as children of Abraham, we send a united message that these cowardly acts will only bring out the best of our sacred humanity.

    With peace,

    Tarek El-Messidi
    Founding Director, CelebrateMercy

    Questions? Email cemetery@celebratemercy.com

    Linda Sarsour7 years ago

    10 Days Later: Results & Help Needed

    Salam and Shalom,

    On February 21, 2017, Linda Sarsour and I launched this campaign asking Muslim Americans to help repair the vandalized Jewish cemetery in St. Louis. The campaign went viral, going beyond its $20,000 goal in only 3 hours. You all - the generous donors - quickly responded. You helped heal hearts of those whose ancestors' graves were disgustingly desecrated and helped bring together the Jewish and Muslim communities against these cowardly acts. Below are some updates and a request for help. 

    Current Results

    In only 10 days, the campaign has raised $155,000 in 10 days from 4,700 donors. It has inspired both Muslims and Jews worldwide. We've also received over 200 touching messages through the LaunchGood page - mostly from Jewish Americans expressing heartfelt gratitude. Check out some of these letters on the LaunchGood page: launchgood.com/cemetery

    Media Coverage

    Our campaign's story has spread like wildfire, inspiring hope and even more donations. Celebrities like JK Rowling and Ellen Degeneres tweeted about it in the first 48 hours, and it's been covered in 50+ news stories worldwide - from The New York Times to CNN Headline News. Check out some of the tweets, articles and video clips here: launchgood.com/cemetery. Read below on how you can help the story receive even more media coverage - especially on primetime TV shows. 

    More Vandalism

    We've recently learned of three other Jewish cemeteries that have been vandalized and also need help: in Philadelphia (PA), Rochester (NY), and Colorado. When we began the LaunchGood page, we clearly stated that additional funds raised will go towards any other vandalized Jewish centers. Thankfully, since our campaign has gone far above the initial goal, we can help our Jewish cousins in other cities. 

    Based on estimates we've received from the cemetery director in St Louis, we'll be sending at least $50-75K to repair / replace their damaged headstones and help pay for a major security upgrade. We're also in touch with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia as they assess total costs and are waiting to hear back from the two other cities. 

    Please note that we are still accepting and encouraging donations. With additional funds raised, our hope is that the Muslim community will swiftly respond when any Jewish center is vandalized nationwide. Please email us right away if you hear of other vandalized locations. 

    Can You Volunteer?  

    CelebrateMercy is looking for 100 volunteers who can help further amplify and spread the campaign. Even if you can only give 30 minutes of your time, perhaps by forwarding an email about the campaign or tweeting about it to journalists and celebrities, your help is needed.

    From past experience with similar campaigns, I've seen that when many people begin to tweet a story to journalists, producers, and celebrities, they definitely take notice. They often retweet or decide to cover the story. With more exposure given to this beautiful initiative, we'll see even more donations, more hearts healed, and more bridges built between Jewish and Muslim communities. 

    To learn more on how you can volunteer, please fill out this quick volunteer form: bit.ly/m4j-help. We will then send detailed instructions on where to begin. 

    Thank You

    Thank you again for responding to our call, a human call, to help our Jewish cousins restore the graves of their loved ones. Together, as children of Abraham, we send a united message that these cowardly acts will only bring out the best of our sacred humanity.

    With peace,

    Tarek El-Messidi
    Founding Director, CelebrateMercy

    Questions? Email cemetery@celebratemercy.com

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