From the Desk - Leaving the Synagogue for Yizkor
Shalom Friends, Last week, we enjoyed yet another wonderful Shabbat at Beth Ora. It was very special to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah with the Zrihan family. Bringing Together the Generations at Congregation Beth Ora Over the last few weeks, I have been writing about Beth Ora as a community centre. Part of what this involves is the bringing together of different generations to share experiences and create something special together. As our mission statement says (see the bottom of this email), we seek to bring all generations together to achieve our goals. Judaism emphasizes the importance of feeling connected to both our past and our future. Just as an example of how we connect to our past, think of every Passover when we sit down to tell the story and seek to experience what our ancestors went through in Egypt. At the same time, a major idea in Judaism is the coming of the Messiah. We are a people who are not stuck in the past but who yearn for the golden age of the future. When the younger generations of our community spend time with their elders, so much is gained. Those who have lived for longer so often carry with them great wisdom, learned through their years of experience. They are also a link to a different world which we don't learn enough about. A couple of months ago, I wrote about how we need to teach our younger generations about the story of the Soviet Jewry movement. In fact, there is so much that we need to learn about the world experienced by our elders, the previous chapters in the Jewish story. A couple of months ago, the Beth Ora professional staff sat down to discuss how we can take steps to make our community vision into a reality. One idea was to invite the children of Beth Ora to interview some of our senior members about their life lessons and experiences. We are going to film the interviews and send them out on email and social media. We have already arranged the first interview. If you would like to be an interviewer or an interviewee for this initiative, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also planning another intergenerational program for later in the year so watch this space! We look forward over the coming months to let you know about all the great initiatives which our professional staff and board have come up with, using our vision and mission statements as an inspiration and guide. In the meantime, we wish you all a wonderful Shabbat! Rabbi Anthony and Carly Knopf Dovid, Rachelli, Yehuda and Avrami
What's the Deal With... Leaving the Synagogue for Yizkor? Amir Anders asked the question: "What's with stepping out of the sanctuary during Yizkor?" So, what's the deal? I have seen a number of reasons given for why those whose parents are still alive step out during Yizkor. Some say that it is in deference to the feelings of the bereaved. Other say it is in order that he or she does not mistakenly recite the service which is considered unpropitious for the parents. Others offer similar explanations - it is a sign of respect for one's living parents not to remain inside while Yizkor is being recited for the deceased; it is from fear of the "evil eye" and those with living parents go out so as not to tempt fate. In some synagogues, everyone stays inside for Yizkor. In Sephardi communities, for example, the entire congregation remains in synagogue while the leader of the services recites the memorial and each individual gives him the names of his own deceased for mention in the collective prayer. Others say it is not decorous for people to leave the synagogue and it may be insensitive to those who are reciting Yizkor. Some do not favour the more superstitious reasons given for leaving. One should follow one's family custom or the practice of one's community. For sure, everyone should come back in for the prayers at the end which are recited for victims of the Holocaust and other martyrs.