Beth Torah has two cemetery facilities; one at Hillcrest Memorial Park on Northwest Highway between Hillcrest and Boedecker, and the other at Restland Cemetery, west of Greenville Ave., just north of I-635 (LBJ Freeway).
The Hillcrest facility is at the far northwest corner of the park and can be accessed from Northwest Highway or from a driveway just north of Temple Emanuel on Hillcrest Road. The Restland facility is part of the United Jewish Cemetery at Restland, located on the south side of Restland Road. A road directly across Restland Road from the funeral home leads to our cemetery.
The only persons eligible to buy plots in either Beth Torah Cemetery are current members of the synagogue, their parents or their children. The purchase price of a plot in our cemeteries includes perpetual care.
Currently, sales of burial plots at the Hillcrest facility are limited to Beth Torah members who have family members buried there or who already own plots. Plots at Restland are available to all Beth Torah members, including spaces in the Mt. Sinai section of the United Jewish Cemetery available for our mixed faith families.
The only persons who may be buried in the Congregation Beth Torah Cemetery are those who are Jewish.
Jewish Law defines a Jewish person as either:
- One who is born of a Jewish mother
- One who is converted to Judaism
It is customary to have a marker placed at he head of the grave during the period from 30 days to one year after burial. At the Hillcrest facility, in accordance with our contract with the cemetery, all markers are flat, flush with the ground and made of granite. Single markers, embracing one grave only, are typically 12“ x 24“ x 4“. Companion markers, embracing two graves are typically 13“ x 44“ x 4“.
Our arrangements with Restland allow greater latitude in the type of markers used. Raised, upright monuments marking one or more gravesites, as well as family groupings, are acceptable. Sizes and designs are regulated by the policies of the United Jewish Cemetery at Restland. This information is available on request through the Beth Torah Cemetery Committee.
You may contact the cemetery committee for information on our approved grave marker suppliers. Regardless of where you purchase them, the markers are installed by either Hillcrest Memorial Park or Restland, and there is a fee for this service.
Inscriptions and designs on markers shall be in accordance with accepted Jewish tradition. In former times, a tombstone inscription might be an elaborate tribute to the virtues of the grave’s occupant. Now, however, simplicity is preferred. Contemporary inscriptions usually include the Hebrew name of the deceased (including the parents’ names) and the date of death according to the Jewish calendar. In spite of the objections of some authorities, it is almost universally accepted practice today to include the deceased’s name in the vernacular (e.g. English) and the secular date of death as well.
A Levite’s tombstone often has a ewer (vase-shaped pitcher) carved over the inscriptions, as a symbol of function in the ancient Temple. The tombstones of Kohanim are marked by a carving of hands raised in the Priestly Benediction.
The Veterans Administration provides a marker for all personnel honorably discharged from service in the U.S. Armed Forces.
In Western European countries and in the United States, it has become the custom to “consecrate” tombstones with a special service. In the United States,
the stone is usually covered with a cloth, which is removed by the family during the service. This ritual has been called “Unveiling”. If an Unveiling is desired, any time after the Sheloshim period ends is acceptable, but approximately one year after the burial is most common. Those wishing to schedule an Unveiling should consult the Rabbi.
Because the death of a loved one is always stressful, and the emotions it evokes are difficult for survivors to deal with, decisions made in advance are always helpful. Please contact the Cemetery Committee Chairman for additional information about these pre-need plans.
Beth Torah‘s Cemetery facilities are operated in accordance with Halacha* (Jewish Law) with respect to all ritual matters. For all issues other than ritual, policy is determined by Congregation Beth Torah, in accordance with the rules and regulations, present and future, as established by both Congregation Beth Torah, Hillcrest Memorial Park and Restland Cemetery.
Cemetery visiting hours are from 8:00 A.M to 5:00, 7 days a week, at both cemeteries, although access to either facility is normally available until dusk during the summer. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Pets are allowed, but must be leashed at all times. Private plantings are not allowed at any gravesite, and according to Jewish tradition, flowers are discouraged as well.
Owners of burial plots in our cemetery may not offer them for public or private sale. By contractual agreement, unused plots may only be disposed of by transferring them back to Beth Torah.
If it is determined that a plot has been abandoned, Congregation Beth Torah shall institute steps to transfer its ownership back to the Synagogue.