havurah shalom cemetery
This hidden cemetery within a hidden cemetery is a small but very bright jewel. my understanding is that Jewish cemeteries are organized around synagogs (correct me, if I’m wrong); and if this is true, synagogs, like churches, have a wide range of character. Havurah Shalom is not old and dignified like Beth Israel, nor wealthy and well mannered like Ahavai Shalom or Shaarie Torah. Nor does it have that Eastern European, refugee feeling like Kesser Israel. Instead it feels like a community of very bright, very conscious, very loving friends. There are, for example, more pebbles placed per grave (a common Jewish custom) here on average than in any other Jewish cemetery I’ve visited. More telling, though, more stones here describe the intended as “activist” than I’ve seen elsewhere. You don’t find that amongst the Odd Fellows.

The cemetery it shares ground with, Jones, is protected by stately old trees, but Havurah Shalom is under the open air, strengthening its jewel-like nature: out of the gloom comes this place of light. One can see heaven from here.

A mere handful of graves near the shelter of boxwood hedges corral the best, pound-for-pound epitaphs I’ve run across. Restrained, simple, elegant. This is a cemetery chosen with care. Few find it that aren’t directed here. The solitude is profound.

Arguably, the most important person to have been laid to rest here is one Benjamin Deutsch (1912-1994). Benjamin has to be ranked as one of the most important persons to be buried in Oregon. More important, arguably, than Linus Pauling, the two-time Nobel laureate, because Benjamin “Pioneered the introduction/ of pastrami into the/ United States & Jewish culture.” Jeepers, he might even be bigger than Beard.

Most important, though, in my circumscribed world is Stew Albert. Here's to ya, Stew.

Directions:

Take the Sylvan exit from Hwy. 26 and head south towards Scholls Ferry Rd. Immediately south of the viaduct over Hwy. 26, at the intersection of Humphrey and Hewell, is the driveway for Sylvan Hill Church. Take that drive and go around to the parking lot behind the church. At the far end of the lot there is a gate through the hedge. Behind the gate is Jones Pioneer; and within Jones Pioneer, in the back right-hand corner, is Havurah Shalom.
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