Passover 5780 - April 2020

How will we recite Yizkor this Passover?

Due to the current covid crisis, when synagogue services are restricted, how will Yizkor, the memorial service for departed loved ones, be recited. (Normally, this special prayer is recited in synagogues on Yom Kippur as well as the last days of major holidays, including Passover.  The last day of Passover this year is Thursday, April 16th).

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Typically we honor the legacy of our departed loved ones by reciting this memorial prayer in a communal setting in shul, with the Torah scrolls bearing witness to our testaments of love, loyalty, gratitude and continuity.  This year will certainly be different, but not less meaningful.  While synagogue attendance is an important element of Yizkor, it is not a requirement when it is not possible.  This year, we honor the legacy of our departed loved ones by protecting life and staying home.  We will make our homes the shul, our prayer books our Torah.  This year, what we can do with a minyan of ten, we can accomplish with a minyan of one.  This is the call of the hour and this is the best way to honor our loved ones.

 Here is a step by step guide to DIY Yizkor

  1. Print the text - Before the holiday starts Tuesday evening, April 14, print this Yizkor text.
  2. Light a 24-hour Memorial Candle on Wednesday eve, after lighting holiday candles for Last Day of Passover holiday, after 8:19 pm.  Important note:  Please light these candles from a pre-existing flame (as initiating a fire is prohibited on the holiday). There is no blessing recited when you light the memorial candle, although it is certainly appropriate to reflect upon the memory of loved ones. 
  3. Recite, on Thursday morning, April 16, which is the Last Day of Passover, the Yizkor Memorial Prayers (from the pre-printed text). When it comes the time to mention the names it's best to use the Hebrew name and their father's Hebrew name (if you have it).
  4. Kaddish is not recited privately.  (Ironically, this time we honor our loved ones by not reciting kaddish).
  5. It's customary to pledge a donation to charity. This is so that the memory of a loved one is immediately followed by and connected to a good deed.

If you would like to make that pledge to Chabad Jewish Center (which would be greatly appreciated) Please click here.

May the souls of our loved ones achieve an aliya (ascendancy) in the heavens above, and may they prevail upon Hashem to bring this awful pandemic to a swift end, along with a full and speedy recovery to all who have suffered any ill effects from the devastating virus, and to bring blessings of health and prosperity to your family and friends.

With love and blessings for a Happy & Healthy Last Days of Passover, and may it also be the last days of this pandemic - and let it passover all us for good,

Rabbi Shmaya Galperin

To learn more about Yizkor, click here.
To learn more about the Last Days of Passover, click here.