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The ancient custom of recalling the souls of the departed and contributing to charity in their memory is rooted in the fundamental Jewish belief in the eternity of the soul. When physical life ends, only the body dies, but the soul ascends to the realm of the spirit where it regularly attains higher levels of purity and holiness.

When this life is over, the soul can no longer perform good deeds; that method of attaining merit is the sole province of mortal man who must struggle with the baseness and selfishness of his animal nature. But there is a way for the disembodied soul to derive new sources of merit. History is a continuum. If we, the living, give charity or do good deeds due to the lasting influence or in memory of a departed parent or other loved one, the merit is truly that of the soul in its spiritual realm. Moreover, God in His mercy credits our deed to the departed one because he or she, too, would have done the same were it possible. Even if the departed one was too poor to have made contributions to charity, the soul benefits nonetheless, because it may be assumed that he or she would have been charitable had sufficient means been available. But mere intentions do not suffice; only accomplishment can achieve this purpose. The intention to give and the fulfillment of that intention are both necessary; consequently, the pledges to charity should be redeemed as soon as possible after Yom Kippur.

It is for all these reasons that Yizkor is one of the highlights of the Yom Kippur service. The reason is neither emotional nor sentimental- although it is undeniable that Yizkor touches the most sentimental chords in the human heart - but because of the spiritual benefits it confers, both above and below.

Ashkenazic Jewry's custom of reciting Yizkor on Pesach, Shavuos, and Shemini Atzeres is of a later origin, possibly the time of the Crusades when bloody massacres wiped out many Jewish communities and seriously hurt many others.

It is virtually a universal custom that those whose parents are still living leave the synagogue during Yizkor. This is done to avoid the “evil eye”: i.e., the resentment that might be felt by those without parents toward those whose parents are still living.

Our Synagogue has Memorial Board with plaques recording the Hebrew and English name of the deceased and the Hebrew date of death.

May God remember the soul of my father, my teacher, (name of deceased) son of (name of his father) who has gone on to his world, because, without making a vow, I shall give to charity on his behalf.

As reward for this, may his soul be bound in the Bond of Life, together with the souls of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah; and together with the other righteous men and women in the Garden of Eden.

Now let us respond: Amen.

O God, full of mercy who dwells on high, grant proper rest on the wings of the Divine presence in the lofty levels of the holy and the pure ones, who shine like the glow of the firmament for the soul of (name of deceased) son of (name of his father) who went on to his world, because, without making a vow, I will contribute to charity in remembrance of his soul.

May his resting place be in the Garden of Eden - therefore may the Master of mercy shelter him in the shelter of His wings for eternity; and may He bind his soul in the Bond of Life. Hashem is his heritage, and may he repose in peace on his resting place.

Now let us respond: Amen.

May God remember the soul of my mother, my teacher, (name of deceased) daughter of (name of her father) who has gone on to her world, because, without making a vow, I shall give to charity on her behalf.

As reward for this, may her soul be bound in the Bond of Life, together with the souls of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah; and together with the other righteous men and women in the Garden of Eden.

Now let us respond: Amen.

O God, full of mercy who dwells on high, grant proper rest on the wings of the Divine presence in the lofty levels of the holy and the pure ones, who shine like the glow of the firmament for the soul of (name of deceased) daughter of (name of her father) who went on to her world, because, without making a vow, I will contribute to charity in remembrance of her soul.

May her resting place be in the Garden of Eden - therefore may the Master of mercy shelter her in the shelter of His wings for eternity; and may He bind her soul in the Bond of Life. Hashem is her heritage, and may she repose in peace on her resting place.

Now let us respond: Amen.

May God remember the soul of my grandmother/aunt/sister/daughter/wife (name of deceased) daughter of (name of her father) who has gone on to her world, because, without making a vow, I shall give to charity on her behalf.

As reward for this, may her soul be bound in the Bond of Life, together with the souls of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah; and together with the other righteous women in the Garden of Eden.

Now let us respond: Amen.

O God, full of mercy who dwells on high, grant proper rest on the wings of the Divine presence in the lofty levels of the holy and the pure ones, who shine like the glow of the firmament for the soul of (name(s) of deceased) son of (name of his father) who went on to his (their) world, because, without making a vow, I will contribute to charity in remembrance of his (their) soul.

May his (their) resting place be in the Garden of Eden - therefore may the Master of mercy shelter him (them) in the shelter of His wings for eternity; and may He bind his (their) soul in the Bond of Life. Hashem is his heritage, and may he (they) repose in peace on his (their) resting place.

Now let us respond: Amen.

May God remember the souls of (all my relatives, both on my father’s side and on my mother’s side), the holy and pure ones who were killed, murdered, slaughtered, burned, drowned and strangled for the sanctification of the Name, because, without making a vow, I shall give to charity on their behalf.

As reward for this, may their souls be bound in the Bond of Life, together with the souls of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah; and together with the other righteous men and women in the Garden of Eden.

Now let us respond: Amen. 

May God remember the souls of the communities of the House of Israel in Europe who were set to flames in the years of the Holocaust 5699 – 5705 (1939-1945) - six million men and women, boys and girls, babies, youth and elders, who were killed and exterminated with horrible cruelty, who fell as a result of mass killing in the places where they lived (in cities, towns and villages), or were sent to concentration camps, like sheep to the slaughter, who died horrible deaths and were turned into ashes in the horrible extermination camps of Germany, Poland, Russia and other countries, at the hands of German executioners and their helpers among the other nations who plotted to kill and uproot the Jewish nation, to erase the memory of Judaism and to kill anybody who bore the name of Israel. Without making a vow, I shall give to charity on their behalf. As reward for this, may their souls be bound in the Bond of Life, together with the souls of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah; and together with the other righteous men and women in the Garden of Eden.

Now let us respond: Amen.

O God, full of mercy who dwells on high, grant proper rest on the wings of the Divine Presence in the lofty levels of the holy and the pure ones, who shine like the glow of the firmament for the souls of the holy and pure ones who were killed, murdered, slaughtered, burned, drowned and strangled for the sanctification of the Name through the hands of the German oppressors and their helpers, may their name and memory be obliterated.

Without making a vow, I will contribute to charity in remembrance of the souls of those holy and pure ones. May their resting place be in the Garden of Eden therefore may the Master of mercy shelter them in the shelter of His wings for eternity and may He bind their souls in the Bond of Life. Hashem is their heritage, and may they repose in peace on their resting places.

Now let us respond: Amen.

 
Information about deceased Male Female Information about you
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Last NameHebrew Name
GrachIrena bas Paul
LinetskayaZhanna bas Isaac
KraizmanVera bas Boruh
VarshavskiyMichail ben Kopel
KisinRifal ben Leyba
RabovitserAron ben Chaim-Leib
RabovitserChaim-Leib ben Iosif
MadjebovskayaZisl-Rivka bas Israel
TsatskinaEster bas Yankel
TulchinskiyMoishe ben Chaim
RyaboyAron ben Boruh
RyaboyZoya bas Eliezer
KarachunskayaElena bas Moshe
FeldmanMaria bas Moshe
KantorEsfir bas Naum
KantorMatvey ben Aaron
KhaitIosif ben Leyba

If you would like to make a donation in memory of a loved one please use the options below:
(suggested donation is $18 or $36 per name)

   
Make check to Heritage and mail it to
Heritage, 2826 W. Lunt Ave. Chicago IL 60645
Call Heritage office at 773-973-1800
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