High-school student leads effort to preserve Vermont's oldest Jewish cemetery


December 18, 2020

David LaChance/Bennington Banner

Netanel Crispe works on a headstone at the oldest Jewish cemetery in Vermont.

EAST POULTNEY, Vt. (Bennington Banner via JTA) - The autumn leaves crunched underfoot as Netanel Crispe walked uphill toward the northwest corner of the small cemetery. He stopped and examined a toppled headstone.

"The last time I was here this was standing up," he said, regarding the weathered, gray stone. "At least it hasn't broken."

Crispe brushed away the leaves to reveal a carving at the top of the stone: two raised hands, the gesture used in the delivery of the Birkat Kohanim, Judaism's priestly blessing.

This is the grave of Marcus Cane, who died on Nov. 13, 1874, and the raised hands a...

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