A Brief History...

Historically, when Jews settled an area one of the first things they did was to establish a cemetery. Jews started arriving in Newport, Rhode Island and by 1677 they had a cemetery. The first Jewish organization in Chicago was the Jewish Burial-Ground Society, established in 1846. Jews have been living in McHenry County since the 1920's. By then we were already in the era of the automobile and so nearby cemeteries were not critical. McHenry County's proximity to Elgin and Rockford, two cities that each had Jewish communities with cemeteries and synagogues, meant that establishing local consecrated burial grounds was neither critical nor urgent. By the 1950's, there was a Lox and Bagels Club in McHenry County, men that met regularly for fellowship and also in order to be able to get a minyan for the annual recitation of kaddish. The first synagogue, McHenry County Jewish congregation, was established in 1982.

For Herb and Eileen Franks, deeply rooted in both the county and the Jewish community, starting a Jewish cemetery in the county was in keeping with family tradition. Eileen's grandparents on both her mother's and father's side were instrumental in establishing Jewish cemeteries in their respective communities in Florida. In 2006, Herb and Eileen marked their 50th anniversary by announcing plans to fund a cemetery in the county through the Franks Family Foundation. They enlisted members of the McHenry County Jewish Congregation to form a committee to find a suitable site for a cemetery in the county. They found a convenient and serene setting on a hilltop at the Oakland Cemetery, a mature cemetery that dates back to 1859.

Land was purchased in 2008 and the cemetery was consecrated in July of 2009.