Judaism believes that a person lives after his or her death in the memories of his or her surviving loved ones who say kaddish over him or her on the anniversary of the death and at Yizkor services. We* have been reading all the names in an ever-growing Yizkor list of names each year on Yom Kippur afternoon as part of the Yizkor service. However, you may have noticed that this list contains many names that were added by people who are voluntarily no longer members of Temple Shalom.
After many years of only adding names to the list while never removing a name from this list from a desire to avoid dishonoring the name of a deceased, this Yizkor list has grown to nearly 360 names.
The Temple Board, after investigating the situation at other congregations, has decided to change the way this list is maintained: Henceforth, and starting with 5778 (2017-2018), the Yizkor list will be built anew at the beginning of each Jewish year during the membership and membership renewal drive during which each member family pays its dues and arranges for its High Holyday tickets and during which non-members who want High Holyday tickets pay their fees. The goal is that the Yizkor list consist of a single alphabetized list of two kinds of names:
- a list of names that the paid-up membership and ticket-holders want remembered, and
- a list of Temple founders and maintainers and their relatives whose names should be on the Yizkor list permanently.
The first kind of names will be taken from the membership form that has a section in which names of people to be remembered are listed or from the names provided by a non-member purchasing High Holy Day tickets. A person may put on his or her list anyone he or she wants, not just a relative. A list of the second kind of names will be maintained by the Temple board with advice graciously accepted from members.
There will be opportunities in the Ten Days of Awe to insert additional names, should the need arise.
Many thanks to Gary Levene and Debbie Eisenberg who have graciously volunteered year after year to read the full list.