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Shavuot & Yizkor Service

Monday, June 6, 2022 7 Sivan 5782

9:30 AM - 11:30 AMBeth Am LiveStream | In-Person
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Shavuot In The Community

Much of the observance of the holiday centers on the synagogue and its rituals. The special readings for the holiday include medieval poems (piyyutim) and the Book of Ruth. A number of reasons are given for the inclusion of the latter. Among them are that the book takes place at the time of the barley harvest, that Ruth’s assumption of Naomi’s religion reflects the Israelites’ acceptance of the Torah at Sinai, and that King David, who is alleged to have died at this time of year according to rabbinic tradition, is mentioned at the end of Ruth. Another tradition is to participate in a Tikkun Leil Shavuot, an all-night study session marking the holiday. And finally, Shavuot is one of the holidays on which both Hallel, the Psalms of Praise, is recited and Yizkor, the memorial service, is observed. (Resources: My Jewish Learning)

The Four Parts of Yizkor

  1. A series of readings and prayers, recited and chanted, that sets the mood for the solemn service.
  2. Paragraphs that individuals read silently recalling the deceased. There are paragraphs for a father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, other relatives and friends, and Jewish martyrs. During the service, each person reads the appropriate paragraph(s).
  3. The memorial prayer for the deceased, the El Male Rahamim [God full of compassion] is chanted. This is essentially the same prayer said at Jewish funerals.
  4. A special prayer, Av HaRahamim (Ancestor of Mercies), probably composed as a eulogy for communities destroyed in the Crusades of 1096, is recited by the congregation as a memorial for all Jewish martyrs. Some also add Psalm 23.

Although in its traditional structure Yizkor does not include the recitation of the Mourner’s Kaddish, many congregations do add this as the climax of the Yizkor service. (Resources: My Jewish Learning)


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Tue, September 27 2022 2 Tishrei 5783