Jewish gravestones are personalized in specific ways: through names and dates; through epitaphs; through symbolic carved imagery; through, sometimes, family history timelines. From the latter part of the 19th century, gravestones in a number of Jewish cemeteries also (as was the practice in Christian cemeteries) began bearing laminated photographs or other portraits of the deceased.
We have noted this in cemeteries in various countries: from Italy, to the Czech Republic, to Romania, to Ukraine, to elsewhere in the former Soviet Union…
Few cemeteries we have visited feature as many laminated photo portraits as we noticed on a recent visit to the Sephardic (main) Jewish cemetery in Belgrade, Serbia.
Their numbers created an environment in this crowded “House of the Living” that was both eerie and intimate at the same time.