BETH HA TEPHILA
53 Birch Street
Asheville, NC 28801
No Official Website
Bella Morte Rating: 1 Tombstone
Occupying a small corner of Asheville’s Riverside Cemetery, Beth Ha Tephila is a Jewish graveyard established in 1902 when the acreage was purchased from Riverside by the Beth Ha Tephila Congregation. The small sign at the entrance to the graveyard states that the cemetery was “Organized in 1891.” This is misleading, however, as the 1891 date is actually the date in which Beth Ha Tephila, the first synagogue in Asheville, was founded.
With sole access exclusively through Riverside, Beth Ha Tephila effectively designates its space as distinct from the grounds of the larger cemetery around it by its border of evergreens which enclose and define its confines quite nicely.
Beth Ha Tephila is divided into two distinct sections, the first comprised of a variety of monuments, most being medium-sized uprights. The second section, however, consists of five concrete “sidewalks” lined on either side with flush bronze markers. Whereas this utilitarian use of space may provide room for more future interments than traditional memorialization would allow, it certainly lacks desirable aesthetic qualities, at least insofar as we are concerned.
At any rate, we include this brief review of Beth Ha Tephila primarily to paint a broader picture of Riverside Cemetery, of which Beth Ha Tephila is a small part.