Memorial plaques honor our loved ones
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Throughout the ages, Jews have responded to the loss of loved ones by committing themselves to remembering those who have died and to perpetuating their memories through devotion to the values that they held dear in life.Memory, that most insubstantial of experiences, is in fact the thing that stays with us the longest; it is truly our most lasting possession.The customs of mourning – including the recitation of the kaddish prayer, the observance of yahrtzeit on the yearly anniversary of a death, and the yizkor memorial service on holidays – are all intended to help us keep the memories of those whom we have loved and lost alive in our hearts and in our lives.
In medieval times, people began inscribing the names of those who had died on the walls of their synagogues so that they would be remembered by succeeding generations.This custom, which grew out of the losses of the Crusades and other hard times for the Jewish people, finds its modern counterpart in the memorial plaques that hang on the walls of the Charry Sanctuary.The names on these plaques, dear to so many of us, serve as a reminder of those who have come before us and the many blessings they have passed on to us.The lights beside their names are lit on the week of the yahrtzeit and at the yizkor memorial service on holidays as a mark of love and respect.
Please consider adding the name of a loved one to those on our memorial plaques this year.We will hold a dedication ceremony for the new plaques at the holiday of Shavuot, when we remember the encounter of the people with God at Mt. Sinai.As we stretch our minds back to that moment, we encompass all of the generations that have lived between then and now, as we continue to uphold the values of their lives in our own time.
Y'hi zichronam livrachah – may the memory of our loved ones always be a source of blessing and strength in our lives.
Rabbi Adam Zeff