This is the time of year thoughts of those we have lost come to mind, and cherished memories flood back to the times we shared celebrating the High Holy Days together. It is a time to reflect on belonging and connection to our faith.
Temple Beth El Rabbi Dan Levin tells us:
“The High Holy Days focus our attention on memory. Rosh HaShanah is also called “Yom HaZikaron – Day of Remembrance”. The Holy Days do not simply ask us to remember our deeds from the year gone by, but also to remember our loved ones whom we have lost. We learn through the process of memory to find wisdom in how best to use the gift of life that is given us, and to take inspiration from the love we shared with those who no longer walk among us.“
Here at the Beth El Mausoleum, which is located on the grounds of Temple Beth El, we are here to help with the traditions to honor those who have passed, from the initial time of burial and beyond. Jewish holidays are often times when specific prayers and rituals are followed in order to do so.
A beautiful and touching tradition has always been to visit the graves of parents or close relatives by attending Kever Avot (Cemetery Services) at a local cemetery on the day before Yom Kippur. The theme of the prayers is peaceful eternal rest for the departed. We also kindle 24-hour yahrzeit candles in memory of loved ones who have died.
In past years, the Beth El Mausoleum has held this ceremony in person for all who wish to attend, however during this particular High Holy Day season, where in-person services in large groups are not permitted, the Beth El Mausoleum has reimagined our services and is providing a virtual Kever Avot service** in order for everyone to participate in, both in the local Jewish community, as well as around the globe. It can be viewed online on Sunday, September 27, 2020 from 10:30 am – 11:30 am on the Temple Beth El Congregational Worship page.
We also remember our loved ones in prayer on Yom Kippur during afternoon Yizkor services, which this year will be held virtually by Temple Beth El on Monday, September 28, 2020. Yizkor in Hebrew means “remember.” Yizkor services are for remembering our loved ones, no matter how long ago the person died. This affords us an opportunity to sustain the bond we have shared with those we have lost. The afternoon Yizkor memorial services**being held by Temple Beth El are of course, available to everyone.
Additionally, The Union of Reform Judaism (URJ) has a great deal of informative information online about how to prepare for the holidays during these challenging times.
**As a reminder, with the unique situation this year evolving daily, please check back to the Temple Beth El High Holy Days schedule page often for any possible updates regarding service changes.