Tifereth Israel Synagogue will again be publishing a Book of Remembrance, which will be mailed to our members in September. This publication will contain the Yizkor service, along with the names of those we remember. The deadline for submission has passed.
Read Rabbi Dorsch’s message from a previous year about the Book of Remembrance below.
One of the many ways in which Jewish tradition encourages us to mourn and honor our loved ones is by participating in the Yizkor memorial service four times throughout the calendar year. I remember how difficult it was for me to recite Yizkor, for the first time as a mourner, six years ago. At first, I didn’t want to be there. I couldn’t believe that I was supposed to be there. But then I looked around the room. I realized that I was not alone in my mourning. For those thirty minutes the sanctuary was transformed into a community of mourners. Seeing an entire room full of people in mourning I realized that every person in that room, at one point, had stood in my shoes and could relate to the depths of my sadness and pain. That shared experience of grief was a tremendous source of comfort for me, and it can be for all of us.
In the Yizkor service, we say “Yizkor Elohim Nishmat” and ask that God remember the soul of our loved one. In his Ohr Hadash translation of our siddur Reuben Hammer suggests that the phrasing is a bit awkward. He asks the question: what does it mean to ask God to remember our loved ones? According to Hammer, when we say Yizkor Elohim, we are asking God to remember our loved ones by fulfilling God’s promise to them. We are asking God to help us, their loved ones, those of us reciting Yizkor, to cope with our pain, process our loss, and move forward with our lives. There is something truly meaningful, holy, and divine, perhaps even inspirational and uplifting about the Yizkor service. It can be a reminder that we are not alone, and that we are there for one another.
This year, one of the many ways that we will remember our loved ones is through the Tifereth Israel Book of Remembrance. This Book of Remembrance will be used each time we say the Yizkor memorial service as a community throughout the year. Jewish tradition encourages us to honor the memory of loved ones through the giving of tzedakah (charity), which is why as we prepare to recite Yizkor on the High Holy Days this year, we hope that you consider making a donation to the Book of Remembrance to list your lost loved ones.
May we all have the opportunity to be there for one another in our times of need. May we always cherish the memories of our loved ones who have passed, and may their memories always be a blessing.