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B'nai Zion History

Click underlines words below to jump to the section for information about the history of B'nai Zion Congregation


Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities History of B'nai Zion      

BZ History Papers from Eric Brock 

Days of Building: History of a Jewish Community          

Jewish Mayors of Shreveport (as of 1987)

A Time to Build   

Read Archived B'nai Zion Bulletins

 CLICK HERE for bulletins over the decades

Current news is found HERE in emails instead of bulletins


History of B'nai Zion Buildings                 History of B'nai Zion Cemeteries
CLICK HERE                                                                  CLICK HERE

1946 Fighting for America:
A Record of the Jewish Men and Women in the Armed Forces of Shreveport, Louisiana 

Honoring Deceased Veterans from B'nai Zion
Go to the web page by clicking HERE.

Music Memory Museum

The year 2020 marked 150 years in buildings for B'nai Zion Congregation. Our Shabbat Shira (Musical Shabbat) included information about the history of each song we used during the service. The service can be seen HERE

We also set up a "Music Memory Museum" in the hall of the current building. This picture shows some of the books of music for many decades of music used during B'nai Zion services. This was only a small section of the "museum." 

B'nai Zion Buildings

First B'nai Zion Building on
Fannin Street erected 1870

1970 One Hundred Years in Buildings: B'nai Zion History in Commemorative Book

Second B'nai Zion Building on
Cotton Street dedicated 1914

Details about the effort by new owners to save the old B'nai Zion building can be found HERE

  Current B'nai Zion Building dedicated 1956

Dedication of Renovated Sanctuary
Worship Service 2/27/2014

 History of B'nai Zion Cemeteries

Hebrew Rest I1858 (section of Oakland Cemetery, 1st known Jewish burial there dated 1853).

 (The Jewish section of Oakland Cemetery) (Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, 1977) Est. July 1858. Earlier burials were in adjacent Oakland Cemetery. Generally, Hebrew Rest Number One follows the Eastern European Jewish tradition of the extremely cohesive community extending even unto death. The last burial to take place at Hebrew Rest Number One was in 1950.

It can be verified that at least ten graves were moved from Hebrew Rest Number One to Hebrew Rest Number Two, 1473 Texas Avenue, after its opening in 1886. The first burial to be made in Hebrew Rest Number Two occurred on August 11, 1886, thereafter it was the more frequently used of the two cemeteries, though burials continued to be made at Hebrew Rest Number One as late as 1950. The primary difference between the first two Hebrew Rest Cemeteries is their layout. Hebrew Rest Number One is planned in a distinctly old-world Jewish tradition which used every inch of land, leaving space neither for walkways, alleyways for vehicles, or for plantings. Neither did the concept of family plots exist. Rather, the whole "family of Israel" was buried together in more or less the chronological order in which they died. Graves are densely packed together and markers are so close they give a very crowded appearance. The concept of disrespect for a gravesite by treading upon it did not exist among these early Jews and, indeed, the only way of getting through the cemetery, or getting from one grave to another, is by walking over those in between. Source: Eric J. Brock,

Hebrew Rest Number II: 
Now commonly called simply "Hebrew Rest Cemetery," opened on Texas Avenue, on August 11,1886. Considerably larger than Hebrew Rest Number One, it was created when it became clear that the older cemetery could not fill the needs of the growing community much longer. Few burials are made at Hebrew Rest Number Two anymore, although the occasional interment is made there, though lots are no longer available for purchase. Hebrew Rest Number Two is divided into spacious family plots with walks in between and plenty of room for shrubs and flowers. Hebrew Rest Number Two follows the decidedly Western European/American Victorian concept of the family as a singular unit separate from the rest of the community, whose individual property was marked off by walls, walks, shrubs, fences, and other dividers, in death even as in life. The comparison of the two cemeteries is an interesting study in the Americanization and assimilation of early-to-mid nineteenth-century Jewish immigrants to the American Deep South. Fencing encloses the whole of the cemetery. The original iron fence survives only on the Texas Avenue side with a small portion remaining on the I-49 side at the end nearest Texas Avenue. The remainder of the cemetery boundary is fenced with chain link. Fortunately, the chain link fencing is largely obscured by vegetation. Large trees front the cemetery on its Texas Avenue side but there are no trees at all within the cemetery with the exception of a large oak near the northwest corner and a few large crepe myrtles near the rear of the cemetery. Trees do, however, grow along the fences on all sides creating the illusion that there is more foliage here than there is. The original fence along Texas Avenue is of heavy cast iron

Hebrew Rest III: 1933 (section of Greenwood Cemetery) (also called the Greenwood Jewish Section) In 1933 a fourth Jewish cemetery was established by the Reform Temple B'nai Zion. This cemetery, known as "Hebrew Rest Number Three," in the beginning, is now commonly called "The Greenwood Jewish Section," for it is adjacent to Greenwood Cemetery, the second municipal non-sectarian cemetery established by the city of Shreveport. Greenwood Cemetery, proper, opened in 1892 when the older Oakland Cemetery, in continued use for at least fifty years, became filled. 

Cemetery Restoration

For an Eagle Scout project Luka M. is cleaning the stones in the Jewish section of Oaklawn. These are preliminary results:

Thu, May 23 2024 15 Iyar 5784