A cemetery is a caring history of people, a perpetual record of yesterday that exists because every life is worth living and remembering—always.
The Temple Emanu-El Cemetery and Mausoleum was established at its present site in 1884, and today joins Greenwood Cemetery, Freedman’s Cemetery and Calvary Cemetery as one of four historic cemeteries in Uptown, Dallas, just west of North Central Expressway. The beginnings of Temple Emanu-El date back to 1872, when a young Jewish man died in June of that year. Eleven men formed the Hebrew Benevolent Society to bury the deceased, and members of this Society established Temple Emanu-El in 1875. The 11-1/2 acre cemetery, on a tranquil, shady site now in the midst of the vibrant city that Dallas has become, contains the graves of generations of “early families and newcomers, of merchants and physicians, lawyers and teachers, rabbis and writers, architects, engineers, social workers and musicians,” according to the historic marker at the cemetery. “There are husbands and wives, children, those who fought—and more than a few who died—in their country’s service, beginning with the Civil War. Their occupations were many and diverse.”
Jewish custom urges that the burial occur as soon after death as possible. In some cases, especially those requiring significant travel, a ceremony may be delayed. Funeral and memorial services are not held on Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Shavuot, and on the first and last days of Pesach and Sukkot. The service itself usually includes the reading or chanting of psalms and other biblical texts, often Psalms 23 and 121, the recitation of poetry and prose, a eulogy, prayers in English and the El Malei Rachamim memorial prayer. It will conclude at the graveside or the crypt with additional psalms, prayers and the Mourner’s Kaddish. The mitzvah of accompanying the deceased, or leviyat hameyt, is accomplished as the casket is escorted by pallbearers either from the funeral service to cemetery or hearse to grave, or both. After the Kaddish is recited, family members and gravesite visitors may choose to fulfill the
mitzvah of helping to fill the grave.
This short ceremony occurs toward the end of the mourning period, somewhere around 11 months after death. At this time, mourners gather at the graveside, crypt or niche to recite psalms or favorite readings, share reflections, “unveil” the cloth covering the headstone, and recite the El Malei Rachamim and Kaddish prayers.
Leaving of Stones
It is customary to leave stones at the gravesite. This is an ancient Jewish custom expressing the permanence of our memories of our loved ones. The Temple Emanu-El Cemetery provides stones for this purpose.
The headstone can include the English and Hebrew name of your loved one, as well as the dates of birth and death in English and Hebrew. Some may choose to include the Hebrew letters pei and nun, standing for “here is buried” and tav, nun, tzadi, bet and hei standing for the phrase “May his/her soul be
bound up in the bond of eternal life.”
At Yahrzeit and the High Holy Days
It is traditional to visit the graves of those who have passed at the season of yahrzeit and during the Days of Awe. Temple hosts a yearly service of Kever Avot on the Sunday between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and all are welcome, no matter where your loved ones are buried.
For information on space availability, pricing, tours of the Temple Cemetery and Mausoleum, Jewish traditions and pre-need planning, contact:
Jeff Friedman, Director of Cemetery Operations
214-706-0000 ext. 240 | email
Open from dawn until dusk