Remembering the Departed
Throughout the year, we remember the departed at our weekly services, in a variety of ways, in addition to the day of Yahrtzeit when we come to the synagogue to say Kaddish.
On Shabbat morning, we recall the names of those whose yahrtzeit falls during the following week (from Saturday through Friday). In the back of the sanctuary, there is a card box with that week’s names on index cards. When you arrive at the synagogue, you can pull the card and hand it to one of the ushers, who will deliver it to the rabbi toward the end of services. Names are read before the final Kaddish, at the end of the Musaf service. If you are unable to attend the service, you can arrange for the card to be pulled on your behalf by leaving me a message by Thursday night or sending me an email.
From Sunday through Thursday at our afternoon service, between the Mincha and Ma’ariv services, we read the names of the departed whose yahrtzeit falls on the day concluded or the day beginning. Names of those departed from member families or on a memorial plaque in the sanctuary are prepared in advance; otherwise, you will have an opportunity to identify your loved one when the names are read. On these occasions, names are read in English.
Usually, after we read Torah on Saturday afternoon, Monday morning, or Thursday morning, we recite the memorial Eil Maleh Rachamim prayer, and recall the departed using their Hebrew names (their Hebrew/Yiddish name and that of their father, if known). On days we do not recite the Tachanun prayer due to holy days and other calendar observances, such as Rosh Hodesh or the entire month of Nisan (we omit Tachanun on occasions of great joy or great sadness), however, we will also omit Eil Maleh Rachamim; on those occasions, we will read the names the preceding time we say the prayer.
If you would like to add a name to our list, or update a name already on the list (e.g., to provide the Hebrew name), please complete one of our Minyan cards, in the cardbox outside of the Chapel. On the back of the card, you’ll find a place to list names. After you fill out the card, return it to the box in the “New Cards’ section. We collect the cards and update our records periodically.
All of our departed are recalled when we recite the Yizkor on the last day of our major holy days and periods. We recite Yizkor, after the Torah reading, on Yom Kippur and the last day each of Passover and Shavuot, and on Shemini Atzereth. Each year, our members have an opportunity to list the names of their loved ones in the Book of Rememberance, updated annually before Rosh HaShanah.
The departed can also be memorialized through a plaque on the Memorial Board in the sanctuary. The annual ceremony unveiling new plaques is held each spring, before Shavuoth.
For information on any of our practices, please contact any of our clergy, the ritual director, or the executive director.