A child of Holocaust survivors, Rani Jaegar composed a yizkor prayer for Righteous Gentiles that is unique and breaks new ground. It tells the story of those who saw suffering and knew how to find their humanity. It remembers that “righteousness is an everlasting foundation” that breaks boundaries.
In the Jewish tradition we have prayers to mark many phases of the grieving process. We find comfort when we recite El Maley Rachamim at the funeral, kaddish throughout the mourning period, and yizkor prayers at key moments throughout the year.
2020 has been a year defined by pandemic, economic collapse, protests for racial justice, political disarray and, in the case of much of the West Coast, catastrophic fires. Yet Jewish life went on, proving to be both adaptable and vital. Reconstructionist congregations have adapted, based on millennia of precedents and an unceasing commitment to community.
Fourteen years ago I accompanied Stephanie to meet with the rabbi of one of the synagogues in my hometown of Minneapolis. It was a unique experience for Stephanie, who lives with cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. It was the first time she had been in a synagogue since moving to the Twin Cities fifteen years earlier.