Hebrew Chapel

(date unknown)

Jewish residents on Hart Island were able to attend services in a small chapel with a rabbi assigned to Hart Island. Catholic, Episcopal and Hebrew clergy resided on or visited Hart Island regularly. They often worked together to say prayers at city burials that include people of all faiths. The presence of clergy ended when healthcare facilities closed on Hart Island and construction of the FDR Drive cut off ferry service from Manhattan. Interfaith clergy would then gather at the city morgue in Manhattan to bless the bodies before they were transported by truck to Hart Island. The medical examiner became more responsive to religious concerns for handling the bodies of people of Jewish faith and now works to notify groups such as Hebrew Free Burial Society before releasing bodies for city burial.

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