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Jews from Columbia in Maury County and Murfreesboro worshipped and were buried here. [January 2009]

 

http://www.isjl.org/history/archive/tn/nashville.html has Jewish Community history and photos. [January 2009]

Archives of the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee:  [January 2009]

Annette Levy Ratkin, Archivist
Jewish Federation of Nashville
801 Percy Warner Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37205
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Phone: 615-356-3242, Ext. 255
Direct line: 615-354-1655
Fax: 615-352-0056

 

SYNAGOGUES: History of Nashville's Jewish Congregations [January 2009]

Nashville JCC: http://www.nashvillejcc.org [December 2000] It has a page of links to the synagogues of Nashville. [July 2002]

Mogen David

Ohava Emes (Lovers of Truth).

B’nai Yeshurun (Sons of Righteousness).Reform.

 

REFERENCES:

Frank, Fedora Small. Beginnings on Market Street: Nashville and Her Jewry, 1861-1901 . Nashville: Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, 1976.

 

Hebrew Benevolent Burial Association and purchased land for a cemetery in 1851. In 1854, they officially incorporated as “Kahl Kodesh Mogen David” (Holy Community of the Shield of David); some have suggested that they chose the name in honor of Davidson County.


CEMETERIES:

Gay Street Synagogue New Cemetery:

 

Old Cemetery: Clay & Cass Sts., founded 1876 or 1912.

 

Sherith Israel Cemetery: Adjacent to and across the street from The Temple Cemetery are the cemeteries of the Sherith Israel and West End Synagogues. In the early 1870s, the Hungarian Benevolent Society, the forerunner of Sherith Israel Synagogue, purchased land for their cemetery. In 1876 part of this property was sold to Adath Israel (now West End Synagogue). In 1909 Adath Israel purchased a small piece of property from Ohavai Sholom. This property abuts the present Temple Cemetery, and is cared for by The Temple through an agreement between the congregations, made in 1903. In 1912 more property was purchased by Adath Israel.

 

The Temple Jewish Cemetery: 2001 15th Avenue North Nashville, TN 37208 615-255-9077 http://www.templenashville.org/ is the website of The Temple, Congregation Ohabai Sholom (Vine Street Temple) at 5015 Harding Road Nashville, Tennessee, 37205, (615) 352-7620. The oldest Reform congregation in Nashville, the congregation dates from 1851. [December 2000] UPDATE: The Temple Cemetery is the oldest existing site in the Nashville Jewish community, dating back to 1851. The first recorded evidence of any organized Jewish group in Nashville is found on the deed to cemetery property sold for $377 on July 15, 1851, to the Hebrew Benevolent Burial Association. This group became the nucleus for the first Nashville Jewish congregation, called Congregation Mogen David, which evolved into The Temple, Congregation Ohabai Sholom. This three-acre cemetery plot on Buena Vista Pike on the outskirts of Nashville remains as the western portion of the present nine-acre Jewish cemetery, and contains the earliest burials, dating back to the 1850s.

In 1860, Mogen David purchased adjoining cemetery property. A new congregation, Ohava Emes, bought cemetery property in 1864 from Mogen David and then sold it to another congregation, B’nai Yeshurun, which dissolved when Ohava Emes and Mogen David merged and became Ohavai Sholom in 1868. As was typical in early burial grounds, there were no private lots, and small wooden stakes on the graves identified the deceased by number. Around 1870 a new section of the cemetery was opened, adjoining the old part, with individual family lots. Julius and Max Sax secured convict labor to build the road.

The Hungarian Benevolent Society, forerunner of Congregation Sherith Israel, bought land in 1876, and when this land was sold to the Congregation Adath Israel, the forerunner of West End Synagogue, a privately owned piece of land was excluded. This piece of land was used as a burial ground for the Loveman- Mills and Rich-Martin families for almost a hundred years. Finally in 1971, through an agreement with the family, this plot became part of The Temple Cemetery.

In 1876, Ohavai Sholom completed the Vine Street Temple on Seventh Avenue in Nashville. The Ladies’ Working Society of the Vine Street Temple was organized in 1880 to purchase “realty suitable for burial grounds for all classes of the Jewish Denomination” and to manage the cemetery. In 1881, they paid eleven hundred dollars to grade and gravel the driveway in the new section which they had purchased. Then they paid for a chapel, which was completed in 1886, and raised money for a water system for the grounds. The Chapel contained Byzantine design elements similar in nature to the Vine Street Temple. An 1896 receipt shows payment of $10.00 for a burial shroud made by the Ladies’ Sewing Circle, which was organized in 1892.The members of the Ladies’ Working Society, which became the Ladies’ Auxiliary in 1886, the Vine Street Temple Sisterhood in 1914, and The Temple Sisterhood in 1916, were responsible for the maintenance of the cemetery grounds for years. They replaced the roof on the cemetery chapel in 1900, planted flowers, plants, and shrubs, purchased markers for unmarked graves and replaced broken markers in 1931. The contributions of the Ladies’ Working Society, and later The Temple Sisterhood, are significant to the early growth and development of the cemetery. The current landscape reflects their dedication.

In 1890, the cemetery was governed by the “President, Vice President, secretary and Warden of the congregation K.K.O.S., and the President, Vice President and Treasurer of the Ladies’ Working Society.” This system continued until 1905, when the Cemetery Committee was established by the Vine Street Temple Board of Directors. The Cemetery Committee remains responsible for the Cemetery to the present time. A Perpetual Care Fund was established for the maintenance of the cemetery. There used to be an annual cemetery tax to subvent costs of running the Cemetery. Then in 1957 the Board of Directors of The Temple established a Cemetery Bequest Fund. This later evolved into the Cemetery Improvement Fund, which in 2005 was changed by The Temple Board of Directors into the Temple Improvement Fund, from which the Cemetery Committee could request funds for capital improvements for the Cemetery. There also is a fund for purchasing new property in the event that the cemetery runs out of space.

In 1907, Mrs. J.G. Lusky, who was concerned about the neglect into which the grounds had fallen, received permission from the Board of Directors to raise funds for the improvement of the cemetery, and to replace the still legible numbered wooden stakes with stone markers. Her inquiries and solicitations reached all over this country and Europe. In 1917, she turned over to the Cemetery Committee the funds she raised through these efforts.

In the oldest part of the cemetery, the graves are arranged in rows, like early nineteenth- century cemeteries. The winding roadways and groomed shrubbery of the present nine acres reflect the influences of the garden movement of the mid-nineteenth century. These Victorian design elements were incorporated into the original 1851 property with the purchase of additional ground in the 1880s. The present character of the cemetery stems from these late nineteenth century improvements. The wide paved roadway forms a basic figure eight. The older gravestones, dating from the 1850s to the 1880s, are very plain. During this time period, probably for superstitious reasons, lots were sold one at a time on an “as needed” basis. Not until the late 1800s were “family plots” sold on a “pre-need” basis. From the 1950s lots had to be purchased in increments of two or above. The motifs of the earliest stones include Hebrew lettering, and such symbols as clasped hands (for friendship or goodbye), a lamb on a child’s gravestone, a rose on a woman’s gravestone, a weeping willow (symbolizing sorrow), stars of David, menorahs, and the two hands of priestly descent. The later monuments are more elaborate, using obelisks, urns, and mausoleums. Traditionally there are no human images in Jewish cemeteries. However, the grave of ten-year-old Felix Salzkotter includes the statue of a young boy, leaning on a sprouting tree. There are symbols of fraternal orders, such as the Masonic square and compass.

The cemetery entrance is on 15th Avenue North and Cass Street through a double wrought-iron gate, each half of which has a Mogen David. The earlier gate on 15th Avenue, flanked by an early nineteenth century stone wall, is no longer used. The tombstones in the oldest section of the cemetery date from 1854 to the 1880s. In the 1870s the trend became to have a large family stone, surrounded by smaller individual stones. The obelisk, in vogue during the Victorian era, is a common marker. Most of the stones are granite or marble, which have weathered well, but the limestone ones have not. There are six family mausoleums, designed in the form of small classical temples. The funerary art and organization retains the characteristics of a cemetery transitioning from an early urban burial ground to a Victorian-era park setting. The monuments reflect Victorian, Classical Revival, and Art Deco stylistic elements.

Confederate soldiers Louis Nassauer, Soloman and Joseph Frankland, and Union soldiers Adam S. Loventhal and Julius Littmann, are buried in The Temple Cemetery. One stone is for Gen. Marcus Frankle, 1854-1897, but no mention is made on his stone from whom he obtained his rank. In 1964 a monument was erected containing the names of Temple members who died during World War I: Joseph H. Rosenthal, Angelo Silverman, Irvin Small, and Daniel Wasserman; and World War II: William S. Beck, Irving Samuel Cohn, David O. Gross, Leonard O. Hyman, Milton Levitch, Max Mendelsohn, William P. Noa, Jr., Marvin Silver. In 1966 the Chapel was demolished and a caretaker’s house was built.

From 1989 to 1991 over 350 tombstones dated prior to 1900 were photographed to preserve the information on their inscriptions. This project was funded by the Jewish Federation and The Temple Cemetery Committee. These photographs, which are housed in the Jewish Federation Archives, are used frequently by families from all over the country researching their family histories. It is estimated that there are three thousand burials in The Temple Cemetery during its use over 150 years.

In 2004, The Temple Cemetery was listed in the National Register for Historic Places. An historic marker was dedicated inside the fence in 2005. In 2007, a renovation program, partially funded by the Tennessee Historical Commission, was completed. On May 17, 2007, The Temple Cemetery Committee received the Commissioners’ Award from the Metro Historical Commission in recognition of these preservation activities. A rededication was held on June 10, 2007. These honors reflect the respect the secular community feels for the historic importance of The Temple Cemetery, whose list of burials reads like a roll call of the history of the Jewish community of Nashville: officers and leaders of every organization, businessmen, and great-great-great-grandparents of several local Nashville Jewish families. The Temple Cemetery will continue to provide repose for, and document the history of, the Jews of Nashville for generations to come. Source: Annette Levy Ratkin. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [September 2007]

 

West End Synagogue Cemetery: http://www.westendsyn.org/ Synagogue

http://www.westendsyn.org/linkcemetery.html Cemetery with map of location [July 2002]

Adjacent to and across the street from The Temple Cemetery are the cemeteries of the Sherith Israel and West End Synagogues. In the early 1870s, the Hungarian Benevolent Society, the forerunner of Sherith Israel Synagogue, purchased land for their cemetery. In 1876 part of this property was sold to Adath Israel (now West End Synagogue). In 1909 Adath Israel purchased a small piece of property from Ohavai Sholom. This property abuts the present Temple Cemetery, and is cared for by The Temple through an agreement between the congregations, made in 1903. In 1912 more property was purchased by Adath Israel.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 January 2009 17:26
 
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