NEW YORK (Jul. 5)
Jewish bodies were buried here over the 4th of July holiday despite the continuation of the grave diggers’ strike against the 47 metropolitan area cemeteries now in its fourth week. The chairman of the Emergency Committee for Jewish Burial, Rabbi Samuel Schrage, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Committee is having great difficulty getting volunteers to assist in burials. He said 2500 Jewish bodies remain unburied.
The Committee which once had over 100 volunteers now has only 35. They buried 35 bodies on July 4, bringing the total number of Jewish bodies buried by the Committee since the start of the strike to 450, according to Rabbi Schrage.
Rabbi Schrage said that members of striking Local 365 of the Cemetery Workers and Green Attendants Union haven’t interfered with the volunteers this week. He attributed the absence of harassment to the increased presence of police at the cemeteries. One union member, Willy Taylor, is facing charges in court for assaulting a volunteer a week ago at Mt. Hebron Cemetery.
Rabbi Schrage told the JTA that old people “are breaking their backs” digging graves with the help of young volunteers. He said he planned to go to the Catskill resort area this week to recruit Jewish youths from summer camps to assist in the burials.