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Uptown in the News  

May 13, 2007
Chicago Tribune – Metro Section
Jewish Cemetery’s new owner plans for renewal
Deal revives community interest in historical burial ground with curious past
By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah
Tribune staff reporter

The burial ground known as Jewish Graceland, whose troubled saga has involved everything from plans for a pet cemetery to legislation aimed at sex offenders apparently has a new owner.

A purchase agreement signed last month shows that Richard Alexander Lichtenstadt-Partin, under pressure from the Jewish community to give up his portions of the North Side cemetery for most of his 14 years of ownership, has agreed to sell his interest in the plots.

The buyer, artist Doris Weiss-Evon, 47, appeared as owner at a recent city hearing over citations for unsightly and unsafe conditions at the cemetery. In an interview she has said she plans to spend her entire $6,000 savings to hire a crew to clear away overgrown brush and fallen trees.

Although most activists had been hoping for a sale, some are not celebrating just yet. “We continue to be concerned,” said Senior Rabbi Michael Zedik of Emanuel Congregation in the Edgewater neighborhood. “It was a scandal in terms of its condition. If the new ownership can deal with it, we’ll be delighted. It will be a mitzvah.

Others question whether Weiss-Evon has the where-withal to undertake a major face-lift at the cemetery.

Maynard Grossman, executive director of Shalom Memorial Park and Funeral Homes in Arlington Heights, has walked through Jewish Graceland a few times. He says it will cot in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore.

To view the entire article for a fee, please visit the Chicago Tribune website at www.chicagotribune.com.

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