History - Ramsgate Jewish Cemetery
With kind permission of Marcus Roberts Jtrails.org.uk© Marcus Roberts, www.jtrails.org.uk
The cemetery of the Ramsgate community is situated in a former field near East Cliff, not far from the Municipal cemetery. It is over-looked by housings estates and allotments.
The cemetery was founded by the famous Jewish explorer Benjamin Norden in 1872 and consisted in the first instance of a field of about a 1/4 of an Acre. It was calculated that the cemetery had space for about 480 burials. The cemetery was enlarged in 1931, when more ground was brought. Interments were made of residents of Ramsgate, Margate and Westgate and other eastern Kent Jewish communities.
The cemetery is surrounded by a wall and is entered through its ohel. The brick ohel is of considerable interest as it is largely unaltered from the Victorian era. It is a simple brick building, with a pitched roof and is entered through central double-doors. The arch above the door with its iron work is the main decorative feature along with a simple Hebrew inscription set in the apex of the arch. The roof-line has a simple dog-tooth decoration along the gables.
Inside, the ohel is wood-lined and has its original prayer boards covering the walls; all clearly bearing Benjamin and Abigail Norden's name. There is also a gas light and an old wooden bier for bearing coffins. A now antiquated gas fire replaces the original fireplace.
Benjamin Norden's grave is in the very centre of the cemetery, immediately to the right of the yew trees.
Other burials include those of the Afrigan family. Shem Tob Afrigan of Morrocco (d. 1908) had been one of Sir Moses Montefiori's personal retainers and Abraham Afrigan his son, a shamash of the synagogue for 36 years. These individuals are of interest as they were members of the 'black' Jewish community, being of North African origin.
Other long term ministers of the synagogue are to be found; Rev. Herman Shandel, who served the synagogue for 48 years.