TACOMA: Pierce County
- Givas Olom: Source: Alan Hirshfeld's submission of "Directory of Jewish Local Organizations in the United States", pp. 330-583. American Jewish Year Book 5680 September 25, 1919 to Sept. 12, 1920 , Volume 21. Edited by Harry Schneiderman for the American Jewish Committee.
- Home of Peace Cemetery: burial index. Temple Beth El's history of the cemetery and contact information.
Founded by the First Hebrew Benevolent Society. Home of Peace Cemetery is located in Tacoma, Pierce County. The city of Tacoma has a 1990 population of 176,664. Pierce County has a 1990 population of 359,703. The city is located at 47.25200 N, 122.45976 W. The cemetery address is 5421 Steilacoom Boulevard SW, Tacoma, WA. Inquiries regarding burials should be sent to Fav Witenberg, PO Box 11183, Tacoma, WA, 98411. Telephone (253) 473-1464. The local funeral home most frequently used by Jewish families is Gaffney, Cassedy, Allen & Buckley King. They are located on Yakima at Tenth, Tacoma, WA 98405. 1-800-215-2166. Mrs. Freedman researched their early account journals and included their journal page numbers as a cross-reference when available. The cemetery burials are indexed and computerized. The cemetery is willing to share the database. Many records have biographical data. Some have funeral director information. None have a health department number.
- The cemetery serves the communities of Tacoma, Steilacoom, Pullayup, Gig Harbor, Lakewood, and University Place and members of the congregation of Temple Beth El, formerly Temple Beth Israel and Talmud Torah. A caretaker lives on site, closing the gates at 10 p.m. There is no flower policy. The Jewish community in the Tacoma area began with a few families in Steilacoom and Olympia in the 1860's. By the 1870's, several families were established in Tacoma, which grew rapidly. The cemetery began in 1889 as the First Hebrew Benevolent Society. It was incorporated in February of 1891. The first temple was built in 1893. The cemetery is active and is used by both Reform and Conservative families. Located in a suburban area, this separate cemetery can be reached by turning directly off of a public road. A low stone wall and a sign in English mark it. It is open to all.
The cemetery association owns eight acres, but only about two acres are currently in use. Rows and blocks organize it, but the sections are not separate. Originally, sections were set aside for infants and single deaths, but those lines have blurred through the years. The oldest gravestone, from 1886, was moved from Olympia after the cemetery was formed in 1889. Many tombstones are datable from the 19th century. Of the over 700 graves, over one-tenth are unmarked. [Source?]
- Chevra Kadisha Cemetery: (also called Block 41) is a small cemetery within Home of Peace Cemetery and Jewish Pioneer Graves in Masonic Memorial Park. A separate adjoining cemetery, Chevra Kadisha, was created July 29, 1914 with less than 50 graves. The cemeteries merged in 1978. The cemetery association is open to all members of the Jewish faith and is governed by a board of trustees. The land was 109x104 feet and located southeast of the Home of Peace Cemetery, with a 30-foot strip of land separating the two. The purchase was "upon the conditions that the purchasers who were buying said premises would use the same for burial purposes. A more Orthodox portion of the community called for the Chevra Kadisha Cemetery at the corner of Lakewood Boulevard and Steilacoom Boulevard. There are at least 26 graves there, including burials from 1922 until 1978. In 1979, the Home of Peace Cemetery Association took over the assets of the Chevra Kadisha and assumed responsibility for it. Over eighty people lie in unmarked graves. For some only a name and possibly a date are known. Eight are simply unknown.
- Temple Beth Hatfiloh Cemetery: Located in the Masonic Memorial Park at 455 North Street Tumwater, Washington 98501. Directions: From I-5, take the Capitol exit. Go south on Capitol Way from downtown Olympia. Cross over the freeway to a Y-intersection with Cleveland Avenue. Bear left on Cleveland and go 2 blocks to the stoplight. Turn left onto North Street. The cemetery is on the right. The Jewish portion is at the back, distinguishable by a chained perimeter. The gates carry the Star of David.
The Olympia Lodge of the Masons formed the cemetery in July 1857. The Jewish portion was established in 1874 when the Hebrew Benevolent Society of Puget Sound purchased three acres of land in the cemetery for $50. In 1922, a portion of that land was returned to the lodge. In 1955, it was turned over to Temple Beth Hatfiloh. Around 1995, the cemetery purchased another section of land within the Memorial Park. The new section is called the family cemetery and provides an alternative for those who wish to be cremated or buried next to a non-Jewish spouse. Ben Bean oversees the cemetery, as did his brother and father before him. Compiled by Deborah K. Freedman, with help from Jeff Freedman, Herman Kleiner, Fav Witenberg, Si Rose & Hilde Slotnick; sent by Deborah Freedman, e-mail: