Anshai Torah Cemetery



For information on purchasing plotspace at the Anshai Torah section at Restland, contact Harvey Swento at 972.473.7718 or harvey.swento@anshaitorah.org

Click HERE to view location and pictures (PDF)


Anshai Torah Consecrates Congregational Cemetery

First Grave Filled to Honor Judaic Printed Matter

The congregation’s first dedicated cemetery hosts 156 plots, 47 of which have already been purchased, with room for expansion as time passes. Sunday’s dedication included the burial of 17 years worth of haggadot, yizkor books, chumashim, copies of the bible, and other papers containing the name of G-d or otherwise deemed holy. Until now, space at the synagogue, called a geniza – or archival holding – has been where administration, clergy, and congregation members have held such materials.On Sunday, November 9, 2014 members of Congregation Anshai Torah gathered to consecrate the synagogue’s cemetery, with 156 plots at Restland Funeral Home and Cemetery in Dallas.

The greatest mitzvah one can perform is to assist in a burial, that a deed that cannot be returned. On Sunday, November 9, members of Congregation Anshai Torah gathered to consecrate the synagogue’s cemetery at Restland Funeral Home and Cemetery in Dallas.

“We are burying materials, today that define who we are as Jews, and they deserve our utmost respect,” said Rabbi Stefan Weinberg.

Members of the Congregation’s Hebrew High School program, with students in grades eight to 12, joined to assist Rabbi Michael Kushnick, Rabbi Stefan Weinberg, lay leaders, and adult members of the Anshai Torah family in burying the books and papers in the grave set to the northern corner of the congregation’s section of the cemetery.

“To you, our children – our future, as the next generation, this is part of the learning we share with you to be a caring, knowledgeable, and responsible Jewish generation,” said Rabbi Stefan Weinberg, who with Rabbi Michael Kushnick, left, spoke to Anshai Torah Hebrew High School students. “Your presence here, to mark this day is important, and indeed meaningful.”

“To you, our children – our future, as the next generation, this is part of the learning we share with you – to be a caring, knowledgeable, responsible Jewish generation,” said Rabbi Weinberg. “Your presence to help mark this day is important, and indeed meaningful.”

“Our cemetery is a perfect example of what a group of passionate people can do when their desire is to reach a goal,” said Anshai Torah Past-President Andy Cohen who chaired the Cemetery Committee, beginning the process more than two years ago. “Making this resting place a reality was our goal – it was a promise we made to Rabbi Weinberg, that every member of Anshai Torah would have a final resting place to call their own.”

Hal Babitch, Phil Balis, Janet Behringer, Harry Benson, Carl Goodman, Sonia Goodman, Mark Heidenheimer, Fred Rabinowitz, Stuart Rosenfield, Warren Rubin, Bonnie Rubinstein, and Jerry Schechter joined Cohen’s committee that worked closely with both rabbis and Anshai Torah’s Executive Director, Harvey Swento.

“This is truly a mitzvah, to bury, cover, and secure these books and papers with the earth,” said Rabbi Michael Kushnick who led the readings of Psalms 90 and 121. “We honor them, as we do our own People, for what they have given us.”

As participants placed box after box of the books into the grave, then adding shovelfuls of dirt as is the custom in Jewish tradition, Board of Directors President Howard Rubin watched, like all, with pride. “It is sobering to be here where many of us have already purchased the plots we will spend our eternity, said Rubin. “But as Abraham did for Sarah, we must have a space and it will last. As the leadership of our congregation it is our responsibility to ensure that while the people and buildings of our congregation may come and go, change and grow – this holy place will last for eternity.”

Ron Nevelow, right, and members of Congregation Anshai Torah helped to fill the grave of Judaic materials. “We are burying materials, today that define who we are as Jews, and they deserve our utmost respect,” said Rabbi Stefan Weinberg.

For Nicole and Mike Roy, longtime members, this was the perfect opportunity to show kavod, honor, to prayer books they brought to the U.S. when they emigrated from South Africa more than 30 years ago. “We couldn’t throw them away then, and we certainly weren’t going to leave them behind – these are precious,” said Nicole. “This is an honorable and respectful way to care for them and I’m very proud that Anshai Torah continues to lead us in the proper way to lead every aspect of our Jewish lives.”

“There are many ways to view a cemetery, for some, it is simply a Beit Kvarote, a House of Graves, for others, it is a Beit Almeen, a House of Worlds as some of our ancestors used the term expressing a profound belief that it is here where two world, the ‘this’ world and the ‘next,’ meet in silent embrace,” said Rabbi Kushnick. “G-d gives us opportunities to participate in moments that time cannot destroy. Remember, it is only the dust that returns to dust, the soul – is G-d’s forever, and standing as we always do, within G-d’s sacred Presence, we dedicate this space where our world’s meet, as a Beit Chaim, a House of Life for us all.”

Members of Anshai Torah’s a cappela group, Kol Rina, led those assembled in the singing of “Oseh Shalom.” “He who makes peace in his high places, He shall make peace upon us and upon all of Israel,” in the Hebrew, sang Harry Benson, Eric Berman, Ron Friedman, Howard Goodman, Ron Nevelow, Stuart Rosenfield, Jim Schwartz, and Rabbi Stefan Weinberg before closing with the sobering depth of Mizmor l’David, Psalm 23.

Rubin and Rabbi Weinberg both reflected on the Torah reading of the week, by absolute coincidence, read in timely conjunction with the consecration of the cemetery. “Abraham was challenged with where to bury Sarah; ‘how will I show I loved and cared for her,’ he wondered,” said Rabbi Weinberg. “This is the week we read of the first acquisition of land, by Jews, in Israel, and since that time the Cave of Machpelah has served as the eternal resting place of our matriarchs and patriarchs. It is b’shert, destiny, that we are here today, at this time, to fulfill our kovah, our responsibility, just as Abraham did. We are part of a chain, a long line of tradition, and as we honor that responsibility, may we all go from strength to strength.”