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Who remembers our names?

18 0 17

One of the best musicals I haven’t seen this year is Hamilton, but I have heard some of its evocative lyrics. The last song asks three questions:

Who remembers our name?
Who keeps our flame?
Who tells our story?

I couldn’t think of more pertinent questions that encapsulate the purpose of Yizkor. Yizkor means remembrance, Yizkor is about the stories of those we have lost, Yizkor is about our responsibility to keep the flame alive.

At the heart of Yizkor is a four-letter word called Loss. If there is one thing that has characterised our past 18 months of this pandemic its surely the many shades of loss. The loss of life, of health of freedom and mobility, the lost celebrations and anniversaries and simple pleasures of being with family and friends, community and congregation.

The grief of these compounded losses has only been exacerbated by the absence of the things we usually draw on to help us through: I am thinking particularly of all the strange and sometimes surreal funerals of this last year and a half. Covid has robbed us of the comfort of closeness, The consolation of saying goodbye to our departed while surrounded by family by friends and by community. That’s why we call a funeral a levaya, an accompaniment. We, the living, accompanying our deceased on their last journey. We, the living, accompanying our grieving friends on that long road from shtibel to the........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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