An engaging and sobering look at memorializing in Judaism and whymemory ours and Gods is so centralto the human enterprise.Few topics exercise the Jewish mind and heart as thoroughlyas memorializing the past, and few prayers onthe High Holy DaysMoreAn engaging and sobering look at memorializing in Judaism and whymemory ours and Gods is so centralto the human enterprise.Few topics exercise the Jewish mind and heart as thoroughlyas memorializing the past, and few prayers onthe High Holy Days attract as many people as doesYizkor, the Jewish memorial service par excellence.Yizkor recalls both personal losses and the martyrsof history.
It began as a sobering reflection on theJews killed by the Crusaders who destroyed Jewishcommunities in the Rhineland on their way to theHoly Land. Its signature line, Yizkor (May Godremember), headed up the memory books in whichJews listed the names of their dead, with the ferventhope that God would remember them.
Other prayersfollowed, including El malei rachamim (God, full ofcompassion), a response to the Chmielnicki pogromsin 1648 Ukraine. Jews in the nineteenth centuryenlarged this original set of prayers to become thelengthy and touching service that we have today.May God Remember provides the history and theideas behind this fascinating chapter in Jewish piety.The fourth volume in the Prayers of Awe series, itassembles the collective thought of thirty contributorsfrom all denominations, and from the UnitedStates, Canada, England, France, Germany and Israel.Appendices provide the Sefardi memorial prayer calledHashkavah, and a translation and annotation of theoriginal elegy for the dead in 1648 whose loss spurredthe creation of El malei rachamim, the most famousof our memorial prayers and a staple for the funeralliturgy as well.
For a complete list of contributors, seewww.jewishlights.com.