Press Advisory: Touro Law Center, Office of Mental Health Announce Partnership to Restore Central State Hospital Cemetery, Bury Jewish Texts Damaged by Superstorm Sandy

Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 10:30 am

October 10, 2013

WHAT: Touro Law Center and the New York State Office of Mental Health announce their partnership to restore the Central Islip State Hospital Cemetery, located adjacent to Touro Law Center. Additionally, a service will be held to bury Jewish prayer books damaged during Superstorm Sandy. 

WHERE: Central Islip State Hospital Cemetery, enter from Touro Law Center south parking lot, 225 Eastview Drive, Central Islip, NY 11722.

WHEN: 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 13, 2013


Touro Law Center and The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) will announce the planned restoration of the Central Islip State Hospital Cemetery, which is located adjacent to Touro Law Center. The cemetery, the former potter’s field for the Central State Hospital, which contains an estimated 5,500 graves, including 500 in a consecrated Jewish section, has been closed since the mid-90s.  Under the agreement, the cemetery will be renovated and reopened so as to expand access for individuals wishing to pay their respects to those interred there and will become a community space for reflection and contemplation.  Touro Law will also assist family members in locating the graves of loved ones.

Rabbi Melvyn Lerer, a Chaplain of OMH’s Pilgrim Psychiatric Center who has long been an advocate for the restoration of the Central Islip State Hospital Cemetery, will also preside over a burial service for Jewish prayer books which were damaged in Superstorm Sandy, as required by Jewish law. 

The Office of Mental Health will also detail grant monies it secured from a private endowment for the rehabilitation of State Hospital cemeteries to assist Touro Law Center in providing access to the cemetery and restoring some measure of dignity and recognition to the souls buried there.


Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center’s 185,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility is located adjacent to both a state and a federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York.  Touro Law’s proximity to the courthouses, coupled with programming developed to integrate the courtroom into the classroom, provide a one-of-a kind learning model for law students, combining a rigorous curriculum taught by expert faculty with a practical courtroom experience. Touro Law, which has a student body of approximately 750 and an alumni base of more than 5,000, offers full- and part-time J.D. programs, several dual degree programs and graduate law programs for US and foreign law graduates. Touro Law Center is part of the Touro College system.

About the Touro College and University System
Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 19,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro College has branch campuses, locations and instructional sites in the New York area, as well as branch campuses and programs in Berlin, Jerusalem, Moscow, Paris and Florida. New York Medical College, Touro University California and its Nevada branch campus, as well as  Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to:

For more info contact:
Patti Desrochers
Director of Communications
(631) 761-7062

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