A little about Hebrew Cemetery Reno

By the 1970’s Reno boasted two Jewish congregations, Temple Emanu-el (conservative) and Temple Sinai (reform). The two congregations oversaw cemetery operations until 2003, when a new, non-profit religious corpora tion was formed.

Six years later both Temple Sinai and Temple Emanu-el transferred their cemetery holdings to the Hebrew Cemetery Inc., which was able to clear up the many issues of title, some of them harkening back to the days of gold and silver bonanzas.

The Hebrew Cemetery Inc. now owns and manages all of the cemetery operations. Its volunteer Board sets fees and provides for maintenance, as well as protecting the customs of the community with the support of the founding congregations. The Cemetery continues to honor our history of serving all Jewish families in the area, not just members of the local temples and synagogues. The Jewish community also maintains a Chevera Kaddisha which provides for ritual washing and dressing of the deceased.

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In 1879 the newly formed Reno Hebrew Benevolent Society bought some land nearby Hillside Cemetery on Angel Street...

By 1907, the nearby mines had played out and many of the Jewish residents moved away. The Benevolent Society folded. There was a period when burials were handled informally by a few families.

In 1917 the Reno’s first congregation was formed with cemetery duties were taken over by a Chevera Kadisha committee.

Beginning in the 1970’s, the cemetery was operated as a joint venture between the community’s two congregations, Temple Sinai and Temple Emanu-el. During this time, each congregation included a “free” plot as a feature of long-term membership. (Families still had to pay for the funeral, marker and maintenance fees.)

In 2003, the congregations established the Hebrew Cemetery Inc. with its own separate board. By 2009, all of the land title issues originating back to the silver and gold rush days were resolved and the court granted the new corporation clear title to the land.

Since it was formed, the Hebrew Cemetery Inc. has pledged to respect the promises made by each congregation to their long-term members for a free plot, but could no longer afford to give away the land. A fee structure was introduced whereby members of each congregation received discounted burial rights.

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