Cemetery Services and Visits
It is our longstanding custom to gather between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation Cemetery on Belair Road or Berrymans Lane. We gather to remember our loved ones who have died and the impact their lives have had on ours. This year, sadly, the global pandemic prevents our gathering in person but it cannot prevent our remembering.
We offer the following prayers and readings from our tradition, particularly from the Yizkor (Memorial) service of Yom Kippur. You may wish to take them with you to visit privately at the cemetery, or read them together with people you love in person or virtually. May they bring comfort and solace as we begin a New Year in hope of healing for our families, our communities and our world.
Adonai, how hard to fathom that we are worthy of your care!
How astonishing – Your awareness of us!
For we are like the morning in mist; our days – a passing shadow.
At dawn we flourish anew; by dusk we wither and fade.
Sending us back to earth’s dust,
You tell us: “Return, you who belong to humanity.”
If only we were wise and understood what lies ahead –
for when we die we carry nothing away;
we leave our possessions behind.
So mark the whole-hearted, take note of the upright –
For there is purpose in a life of integrity.
Adonai, You replenish the lives of all who revere You;
And those who trust in You will never despair.
(based on Psalms 144:3-4; 90:6, 3; Deuteronomy 32:29,
Psalms 49:18, 37:37; 34:23 – In Mishkan Hanefesh p555)
IN MY DARKNESS, be a light to me,
In my loneliness help me to find
a soul akin to my own.
Give me strength
to live with courage
to draw blessing from life,
even in the midst of suffering;
to hold fast against the storm,
and to smile at a loved one’s glance.
(Rabbi Chaim Stern in Mishkan Hanefesh, p559)
"A Litany of Remembrance" by Rabbis Sylvan Kamens and Jack Riemer
In the rising of the sun and in its going down - we remember them.
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter - we remember them.
In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring - we remember them.
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer - we remember them.
In the rustling of leaves and in the beauty of autumn - we remember them.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends - we remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength - we remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart - we remember them.
When we have joys we yearn to share - we remember them.
So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
Our loved ones live in our broken hearts – and, at times, that brings some measure of healing. Their acts of kindness and generosity are the inheritance they leave behind. We feel their absence; but the beauty of their lives abides among us. As it is said, the name of one who has died shall not disappear. Our loved ones’ names – and their memories – will endure among us. And these are the names – on our lips and in our hearts –
(Recite aloud the names of loved ones.)
Shana Tova U’metuka,
Rabbi Andrew Busch, Rabbi Elissa Sachs-Kohen, Cantor Benjamyn Ellerin, Cantor Ann Sacks
Digital Prayer Books Available: Here