Temple Beth El’s Garden of Memories
Have You Made Cemetery Reservations?
Now would be a good time. You will relieve your family from having to make decisions at a difficult time and you will save by paying the current low prices. Currently, a cemetery plot is FREE to Temple members in good standing and there is a one-time beautification fee of only $750. This is truly a benefit of Temple Beth El membership.
Contact any committee member:
Pam Arkin, Chairperson –email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Max Liberles, Karen Liberles, Saul VanderWoude, Candace Patton, Neal Frank, and C.J. Portner
Major Changes Coming: Landscaping; Irrigation/Sprinkler System; Beautification Fee Increase
The TBE Cemetery Committee was formed in 1999. Until recently it consisted of 4 core members who took on the physical planting, trimming, weed whacking of gravestones and other maintenance as well as the administrative work (rules & regulations, bookkeeping, records, sales, etc.). The Committee recently added some very dedicated new members who indicate a long term commitment to the Temple’s cemetery and have become a force of needed new energy.
At the January meeting, everyone agreed the cemetery looks better than ever, but members also agreed that priority projects from the Committee’s long term goals list need to be implemented. To achieve this, the Committee has a landscaping business working on plans for an irrigation/sprinkler watering system as well as professionally completing landscaping work so that all 4 fences will be covered with attractive bushes. At this writing, the Committee awaits the plans and cost estimates. Also being worked on is the possibility of donated Oak trees to be planted outside the fence perimeter.
To ensure that sufficient funds are always available for upkeep and beautification purposes, the one-time beautification fee for members in good standing will increase to $750 effective March 1, 2013 (the original $500 fee has remained unchanged for 13 years).
For questions or more information, contact Committee members listed below:
Membership Has Its Privileges
You’ve heard the commercial, “membership has its privileges.” As a member of Temple Beth El, your membership entitles you to a great deal – meaningful worship services, lifelong Jewish learning and opportunities for tikkun olam. Another privilege we may not tout often enough is that TBE offers all its members in good standing a free gravesite, saving you thousands of dollars, a significant privilege of membership. Immediate family members who are unaffiliated with our Temple will be charged for a gravesite. In both instances, there is a one-time beautification fee payable to the Temple.
Our cemetery, which is located within the City of Fort Myers Cemetery, is formally called Temple Beth El Garden of Memories. You’ll find it just east of the River District at 3200 Michigan Avenue in Fort Myers. Purchased in three parcels from the city in the ᾽50s, ᾽60s and ᾽70s, the total number of gravesites is 240. It is the oldest Jewish cemetery and only temple owned cemetery in Lee County. Many of the early Fort Myers Jewish leaders and founders of our Temple are buried there.
A Memorial Wall was constructed and installed in the cemetery in the 2005. It provides Temple members a place where their loved ones buried elsewhere or cremated can be forever remembered and honored by having their names and dates inscribed on the wall.
Our cemetery, like all Jewish cemeteries worldwide, encapsulates every aspect of Jewish life and civilization. Occasionally referred to as beit olam, or “house of the eternal,” a cemetery represents the greatest collection of evidence of Jewish life, outside of a museum. Walking through a Jewish cemetery, one can appreciate the richness and diversity of Jewish people.
Every gravestone tells a story. Each individual interred in a Jewish cemetery, no matter their occupation or social status, or observance level played some role in underscoring the vitality of Jewish life in American. We owe it to our ancestors to ensure their eternal resting places are maintained with dignity. Moreover, we must ensure our dearly departed are properly memorialized with honor and without compromise.
Maintaining Jewish cemeteries fulfills the commandment of kavod ha-met, providing dignity to the deceased, and ensures the memories of our dearly departed are never obliterated. Twice a year a Service of Memory is held at the cemetery to pay respects to those buried there and unveil newly inscribed names on the Wall. This service takes place on the Sunday between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as well as on the Sunday before Memorial Day.
The cemetery is managed by a volunteer committee with the chairperson being a member of the Temple’s Board of Trustees. Recently our cemetery records have been computerized and an easy-to-use map created, which identifies occupied, reserved and available spaces. To honor, recognize and thank our military veterans, a granite bench was installed and dedicated during our Memorial Day service held at the cemetery.
Fees and cemetery-related expenses may be found in the literature rack located in the Temple lobby along with our newly designed marketing brochure.
Rather than wait until the time of need, many members find it helpful to make funeral and burial arrangements in advance and prepay the costs. If you wish to do so, please contact TBE’s office at 239.433.0018 or email@example.com and a member of the committee will call you. Copies of the Garden of Memories Rules and Regulations and Fee Schedule are available upon request.
Pamela Arkin, Chair
Garden of Memories Committee