Yahrzeit.  Honoring the memory of your loved ones.

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Yahrzeit

Yahrzeit is observed each year on the date of death according to the Hebrew calendar. Therefore, the timing of Yahrzeit on the secular calendar will vary from year to year. The Synagogue notifies members of the secular date if the Yahrzeit records are on file. The names of the deceased are read at the appropriate evening service and at the Friday evening service the week before the Yahrzeit, if those who observe Yahrzeit are present and request it. The Yahrzeit observance lasts a full day and it is customary to attend services on the evening Yahrzeit begins as well as the morning and afternoon of the next day. Those who come to observe Yahrzeit recite kaddish as part of the daily service and may lead portions of the service.

It is traditional to make contributions to charity on Yahrzeit. The Synagogue notification form may be used in order to make such a contribution. Perhaps the best known custom for observing Yahrzeit is lighting of a candle made to burn for at least 24 hours. The candle is lit the evening Yahrzeit begins. If Yahrzeit falls on Shabbat or Yom Tov, the candle is lit before the Shabbat or holiday candles. Although there is no formal blessing when lighting the candle, a meditation such as the one which follows may be said. It is appropriate, of course, to use your own words and thoughts in addition or in place of this meditation:

Dear God, I light this candle on this the Yahrzeit of my dear ___. May I be inspired to deeds of charity and kindness to honor his/her memory. May the light of this candle be a reminder to me of the light my dear ____ brought to my life. May his/her soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life. Amen.