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Emanuel Hebrew Rest, a pioneer cemetery on a tree-shaded acre in the city’s hospital district, is Fort Worth’s oldest Jewish institution. The land, at 1414 S. Main Street, was deeded to the “Israelites” of the city in February 1879 by civic figure John Peter Smith.
The oldest grave at Hebrew Rest belongs to a four-year-old girl who died in November 1879. Also buried in Hebrew Rest are six Civil War veterans, one rabbi, and A.L. Neiman, the co-founder of the Neiman Marcus stores.
Both of the city’s Jewish congregations utilized the cemetery until 1909 when Ahavath Sholom purchased land on University Drive for an Orthodox cemetery. The Emanuel Hebrew Association, a volunteer cemetery society, tended the premises until 1962 when Beth-El became the official caretaker.
In 1981, the cemetery received a Texas Historical Marker. In 2017, the site received a Historic Texas Cemetery designation, which will prevent the city or state from ever running a road through the premises.
A number of tombstones at Hebrew Rest are engraved with Hebrew words, Yiddish inscriptions, and Jewish symbols such as a menorah or a Star of David. Many tombstones reflect Masonic ties and bear insignias of the Knights of Pythias, the Oddfellows, Woodmen of the World, and Scottish Rite Masons.
Beth-El Congregation’s 1.6-acre section at Greenwood Memorial Park was purchased in 1929 for $8000. The section has space for an estimated 1800 plots, with ample room for the congregation’s future needs. The Beth-El section is a trapezoidal island of grass and granite set apart from the rest of the cemetery by quiet roads and sloping curbs. Magnolia trees shade the property. Greenwood Memorial Park is responsible for perpetual upkeep.
For more information about purchasing plots, please contact the Temple administrator.