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Monday, December 9, 2013,
6 Tevet 5774.
Meaning the commemoration of the death of a Jew by a mourner, i.e. the spouse, parent, child or sibling of the deceased. In Judaism, Yahrzeit aids those in mourning and keep alive the memory of a loved one. The anniversary of the death of a loved one is naturally a solemn day and Judaism helps the mourner experience this pain and also honours the memory of the deceased via Yahrzeit rituals.
The date of the Yahrzeit is calculated according to the Hebrew calendar and is the anniversary of the death [not the burial]. The main expression of the Yahrzeit is reciting the mourners kaddish and lighting a special memorial candle which burns for 24 hours. This should be lit after dark on the evening before the anniversary of the death.
While Jews have observed Yahrzeit since Talmudic times, the ceremony wasn't so named until the 16th century. The word derives from the German word "Jahrzeit" a word used by the Christian Church for the occassion of honoring the dead.
At HRS we write to our members as they approach the Yahrzeit of a loved one to remind them of the English date that corresponds to the Hebrew date in the current year and to invite them to have the name of the departed included in the Shabbat prayer.
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