Yahrtzeit – יאָרצײַט
Commemorating the Anniversary of the Death of a Loved One
Yahrzeit is the anniversary of the death of a loved one. Some of our members choose to observe the Yahrzeit according to the English date of death and some choose to observe the Yahrzeit according to the Hebrew date of death. Our congregation will send you a notice each year and we will read the names of your loved ones at the Shabbat service prior to the date you choose.
Many of our members find comfort in attending Yizkor Memorial services. We recognize that mourning is both a personal and a communal activity. This is an opportunity to come together in prayer and reflection. This special service is held four times a year – on Yom Kippur, on the last day of Pesach, on Shavuot and on Atzeret-Simchat Torah.
Some of our members choose to remember their loved ones with a memorial plaque in our memorial board, which will soon hang temporarily outside the offices of the Jewish Federation of San Antonio, until such time as we have a permanent location. Please contact Rabbi Lisa Goldstein to purchase a plaque.
There are many ways to remember people after they’ve died, including on the anniversary of their death. One way is to say the Mourner’s Kaddish, or the memorial prayer. The Kaddish memorial prayer is at this link.
Below are some other suggestions from the variety of Jewish practices for remembering loved ones on their yahrzeit. Reform Judaism does not prescribe any of them, but is open to the many rituals that its adherents find meaningful.
- A common practice is on the eve of the Yahrzeit to light a 24-hr candle.
- It can be a time for an annual visit to the grave.
- Recite the Mourner’s Kaddish, either with a group of people (i.e. at a service) or by yourself.
- Honor your loved one by lighting the Shabbat candles or leading Kiddush in his or her memory on the Shabbat at which the name is read at services.
- You may want to ask to be called to the Torah for an Aliyah.
- It is a day to study some religious text.
- The Yahrzeit day is particularly suitable for the giving of tzedakah on behalf of the deceased to synagogues, religious schools, medical institutions, or the poor, or to the loved one’s favorite charity.