Although they may appear to be one, there are actually eight individual Jewish cemeteries located on the north side of Kelly Street between Meridian Street and Bluff Road. Two more are on the west side of Bluff Road, just north of Kelly Street.
(In November 2013, we contacted Congregation Beth-El Zedeck to obtain the proper information on the various local Jewish cemeteries. They referred us to Aaron-Ruben-Nelson Mortuary. The following is from information provided by Max Nelson, the current owner of the mortuary. His assistance is greatly appreciated. Links are provided to each individual cemetery.)
In 1858, the Indianapolis Hebrew Cemetery
was established on Kelly Street just west of Meridian Street. As more Jewish immigrants came to Indianapolis in the 1880s, various "national" congregations were established: Polish Jews started Shara Tefilla (Shara Tefilo/Shara Tefillah/Sharrey Tefillo)
and Russian Jews organized Knesses Israel
. The United Hebrew
Congregation was also formed in the late 1880s. During the early 1900s, Hungarian Jews founded Congregation Ohev Zedeck
and Jews from Greece and Serbia formed the Etz Chaim (Etz Haim Sephard)
Congregation. Each of these congregations established its own cemetery on the Kelly Street land next to the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation Cemetery. In 1921, Beth-El Congregation was formed. When the Beth-El and Ohev Zedeck Congregations merged in 1928, they established the Beth-El Zedeck Cemetery
, also on the Kelly Street property. Between 1928 and the 1940s, Esras Achem (Ezras Achem) and B’Nai Torah Congregations were founded and they subsequently established their cemeteries: Esras Achem
next to the other Jewish cemeteries on Kelly Street and B’Nai Torah
on the west side of Bluff Road, across from the Kelly Street cemeteries. As need increased, Congregation Etz Chaim established Etz Chaim West Cemetery
, also on the west side of Bluff Road. The Indianapolis Hebrew Cemetery North
was created on 161st Street and Congregation Beth-El Zedeck North Cemetery
was established on Eller Road. The original Indianapolis Hebrew Cemetery was then renamed Indianapolis Hebrew Cemetery South. Likewise, the original Beth-El Zedeck Cemetery was renamed Beth-El Zedeck South.
(The spelling differences for Shara Tefilo, Etz Chaim, and Esras Achem Cemeteries are due to variations in the translations from Hebrew to English. Note also that various sources show a "Mokame Kodesh" Cemetery. (It is on the gate into B'Nai Torah and Etz Chaim cemeteries.) "Mokem Kodesh" is Hebrew for "holy place" and is describing the cemetery and is not an actual cemetery name. Note also that the current Google map shows the Shaarey Tefilla (Shara Tefilo) Cemetery in the wrong location.)
The website "JewishGen
" has an on-line burial database for the local Jewish cemeteries. A login is required to access the burial information.