May 27, 2019

President’s Message-June 2019

Yahrzeit:  Remembering on the Anniversary of a  Death
 
I don’t know about you, but my grandmother, Anna Bernstein, always served her grandchildren beverages in used yahrzeit glasses.  I didn’t know then exactly why they were different than our glasses at home, but I did know I did not like drinking from them.  As an adult, I still don’t like drinking from them, but now I know what an important part of our tradition it is.
 
Yahrzeit is a Yiddish word meaning anniversary of a death.  It is a yearly anniversary of a loved one’s death (traditionally the anniversary of the Hebrew date, not the Gregorian date).  In Judaism, there is a focus on carrying on the memory of those before us from generation to generation. We observe yahrzeit at home by lighting a special long burning candle in memory of the deceased.  The candle usually sits in a clear glass, hence, my grandmother’s matched set of drinking glasses. 
 
In the synagogue, yahrzeit is observed by reciting the Mourners’ Kaddish at services.  Most synagogues maintain a memorial wall of plaques bearing the names of deceased members or deceased loved ones of current members.  These plaques, as in our synagogue, are sold in order to provide the funds to support the engraving and installation of the plaques.  Each year the plaque is illuminated on the month of the deceased’s yahrzeit.
 
Our memorial board was lovingly constructed by local craftsmen under the supervision of Bob Shiffman.  Having your loved one’s name on our memorial board guarantees that for one month each year, as long as our congregations exists, their name will be included in the Mourners Kaddish at all of our regular services ..
 
For further information, or to purchase a plaque or yahrzeit candle, please contact Robin Hayden – hayden365@yahoo.com
 
*some of this information was taken from My Jewish Learning.