Each year, during the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Jews around the world honor the memory of their family members by visiting their graves. But for many Holocaust survivors and their families, there are no graves to visit, and no yahrtzeits to observe, since the specific dates of their deaths are unknown.
So, it is a long-practiced tradition of Boston’s community of survivors and their descendants, to mark the Sunday between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as a day of collective remembrance. Since 1967, we at JCRC have had the privilege, along with our partners, to organize a gathering every year for a service of memory, in a place that has become hallowed ground to our survivor community; the iconic statue of the biblical figure Job, outside of Brandeis University’s Berlin Chapel. Inscribed with a verse from Lamentations; “My eyes shed streams of water over the ruin of my poor people”, the sculpture by Nathan Rapaport honors the memory of the Six Million Jews who were taken from us in the Holocaust.
This has become a sacred space for survivors and their families; a place where they come together as one community, to mourn their unthinkable losses.
Each year, we hear survivor testimony, light memorial candles to remember those in the survivor community who we’ve lost in the past year, and we recite Kaddish.
This year, although COVID prevents us from gathering in person, we still join virtually in that sacred space. We invite you to watch a brief Yizkor service with remarks from Brandeis Hillel Rabbi Seth Winberg and the President of the American Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants of Greater Boston, Janet Stein Calm.
You can also read survivor testimony from a past Yizkor service here.
May all their memories be for a blessing, and may you be sealed in the Book of Life this Yom Kippur.