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Yahrzeit & Yizkor


Yahrzeit in Yiddish translates to ‘time of year.’ As Jews, we focus on carrying the memory of those before us ‘l’dor v’dor’ from generation to generation.

On the yearly anniversary of a person’s death, the Mourner’s Kaddish is recited and a special, long-burning candle is lit at sundown on the night prior to the anniversary. It burns for 24 hours. It is a time to reflect upon the person who has passed, the legacy he or she has left behind, and to remember and share stories of our loved one.

Perpetual Memorials

One way of honoring our loved ones in perpetuity is by establishing a perpetual memorial. At Congregation Shaare Emeth, we have memorial walls and plaques that identify those whom we have lost whose families chose to contribute to the temple in a loved one’s memory. Establishing a Perpetual Memorial means that a plaque will be engraved with your loved one’s name and you will receive a notification prior to the yahrzeit, or anniversary of death. You can also have others notified prior to the yahrzeit as well. Finally, the name will be read at our Shabbat service by the Rabbi and printed in our weekly flier on the Friday night during the week of the yahrzeit in perpetuity. Long after we are gone, those names will still be read and remembered by our Shaare Emeth community.

Our week goes from Sunday to Saturday. If a yahrzeit occurs on a Tuesday, the name of your loved one will be read on the following Friday. If the yahrzeit occurs on a Saturday, it will be read the day before at our Kabbalat Shabbat services on Friday. For clarification on when a name will be read, please contact Stacy Jespersen in the synagogue office at 314.692.5302 or sjespersen@sestl.org.

If you cannot attend services to hear the name of your loved one and recite the Mourner’s Kaddish, please consider joining us digitally! Our services are broadcast through live-streaming on our website. Click here for more information on live-streaming services.

If for any reason you would like a name read on a different Shabbat, please let us know. We are happy to accommodate and read any name on any Shabbat of your choosing. This includes those who have not yet established a Perpetual Memorial.


Yizkor comes from the root word ‘zakhor’ which means to remember. Four times each year, it is tradition in Judaism to participate in a memorial service in the synagogue to honor those who have passed. After the Torah reading on Yom Kippur, Shemini Atzeret at the end of Sukkot, the eighth day of Passover, and the second day of Shavuot are the four times during the year when the Yizkor service takes place.

The Yizkor service consists of four parts: a series of prayers and readings that are recited and chanted aloud, specific paragraphs individuals read silently recalling the deceased such as a father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, or other relative, the memorial prayer for the deceased El Male Rahamim is chanted by the Cantor, and Av HaRahamim is recited by the congregation as a memorial for all Jewish martyrs. Although a memorial service, it does not traditionally include the Mourner’s Kaddish. Many congregations add it as a conclusion to the Yizkor service.

You are invited to join Congregation Shaare Emeth in our Yizkor services. Please check our worship calendar or call the temple office for more information and dates.

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