A 19th-century Jewish cemetery in Marysville, located 40 miles north of Sacramento in Yuba County, is under water. It was flooded in last week’s storms, when much of the local population was evacuated.
“We won’t be able to get into the cemetery for at least a month. The entire site is flooded,” said Stephen Kinsey of San Jose, head of the Commission for the Preservation of Pioneer Jewish Cemeteries and Landmarks of the West. The commission is dedicated to the preservation of seven Jewish cemeteries in Northern California, all dating back to the Gold Rush era.
The Marysville cemetery, which today is part of a larger, multi-denominational cemetery, has been flooded before, Kinsey said. Last summer, several Jewish headstones were found damaged, either from previous flooding or because of squirrels. A flood warning has been issued for this weekend, in effect through Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Marysville’s Jewish cemetery was established in October 1853, along with the city’s synagogue and Hebrew Benevolent Society, according to Kinsey.
The first burial took place in 1855, and the final burial was in 1945. Altogether there are 46 graves, and the cemetery is no longer used. The city’s current synagogue, Temple Beth Shalom, a fledgling congregation with about 40 members, is about three miles away.