Jewish cemetery in Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi
Akkerman, as Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi was called before 1944, according to some sources, is more than 2500 years old, and one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Ukraine, located now along Portovaya Street, is at least 2000 years old.
Today this cemetery, along with the fortress, is one of the main attractions of the city. People are attracted by the opportunity to touch the centuries-old history, wandering under the shade of trees across the vast (almost four hectares) territory of the cemetery. Very ancient Jewish burials have been preserved here. Some of them, according to knowledgeable people, are at least 1000 years old. There are a lot of matzevahs dated 200-300 years ago.
The cemetery has been neglected for many years, but in recent years, thanks to enthusiasts and members of the local Jewish community, it is gradually getting its proper look. Also, all possible financial assistance in the arrangement of the cemetery is provided by former residents of the city from Israel. Members of the local community organized the pruning of trees and bushes, their removal, beautification and putting the territory of the cemetery in order with donations.
In some parts of the cemetery, you can also see fresh graves - they continue to bury Jews there according to Jewish laws from all over the Odessa region. According to members of the city's Jewish community, after decades, it became possible to perform funeral rites according to Jewish canons again.
Those wishing to bury their loved ones in the old Jewish cemetery must adhere to Jewish burial laws. The funeral service of Chevra Kadisha arrives from Odessa, which performs all the necessary rituals: they put the deceased on the floor, wash and dress in funeral clothes. A minyan is gathered from members of the community and prayers are said.
Also in the cemetery there are the graves of Jews killed during the pogrom in 1905 with monuments in the form of a sawn tree, as well as the burial of a Torah scroll defiled during this event. There are also burials of victims of the Holocaust and Stalinist repressions, mainly in the form of mass graves.
At the request of several Jewish organizations, the local authorities decided to mark the old Jewish cemetery of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi (Akkerman) with a special commemorative plaque in Hebrew, Ukrainian and English.