Friday, September 5, 2008

Jewish Cemetery- Hurley, Wisconsin

Thanks for the invitation to post here, Nan. For my maiden contribution, I'll offer a site that you will surely know more about than I ever will.

Coming from New York, the ultimate melting pot, the demography of Upper Cheeseland seemed pretty bland when I moved here 16 years ago. It wasn't until I settled in and started looking more closely that I began to notice the ethnic diversity that I'd initially missed: the Poles in Washburn, Bohemians in Moquah, Italians in Hurley, and the rest.

Not surprising, then, that this Jewish cemetery in Hurley caught my eye pretty quickly, though it was only recently that I finally got around to stopping. (One of these days I need to go back when the light is better.) I'm always especially fascinated when I encounter Jews in out-of-the-way places: though the mining country along Lake Superior may be a long way from Cornwall or the Piedmont, it seems farther yet from the shtetls of Eastern Europe. What was life like for a Jew in this land?

(Click the images for a closer view.)


Nan said...

Hurley always felt so thoroughly Catholic to me -- all those Italians -- that the Jewish cemetery surprised me, too, the first time I noticed it. In truth, the town is remarkably ethnically diverse thanks to its mining history, but the Italian Catholics have the highest profile so it's easy to overlook other groups of people.

My most memorable association with the Hurley cemetery came during my senior year of high school. The yearbook committee decided to use photos taken around the local area as background for the first page of various sections. For the section with the photos of the senior class, for example, we used a photograph of the class officers standing in front of the "Welcome to Wisconsin" sign out on U.S. 2. Well, for the Sports section we took a photo at the Hurley city limit of the sign saying "Hurley Population 2763 Drive Carefully in School Zones." None of us really noticed that the backdrop for that sign was the Hurley cemetery. It did not help that both the football and basketball teams had really, really bad beyond belief seasons that year. To this day there are people in Hurley who are convinced we set out on purpose to say "Sports are dead at Hurley High School." We didn't. We weren't that smart or snarky at the time. In retrospect, though, I sometimes wish we could claim it was deliberate.

Ranger Bob said...

My most memorable qssociation with the Hurley cemetery came during my senior year of high school.

You had me worried there a minute.

DCup said...

These pix remind me that I really prefer the upright headstones to those flat plates like the ones all over the Jewish cemetery where we used to own plots. It seemed so sanitized. And what a pain to find the in-law's plots!

steve said...

I don't know if you are interested in the Hurley Jewish cemetery-Here is a link to a full story.

Ranger Bob said...

Fascinating article- thanks for the link, Steve.