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Eleven Months

09/18/2019 09:45:05 AM


Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

Today is the 18th day of the Hebrew month of Elul, eleven months after the 18th of Heshvan, which corresponds to October 27. Today concludes the recitation of Mourner’s Kaddish, although there will indeed be differences of opinion in this matter.  For the sake of communal clarity and support, I have suggested today’s date. There are no formal ceremonies. Informal ones have been devised by many creative people, for the starkness of just stopping the recitation might not provide the closure that some need. I will be offering the Memorial Prayer as well.

Upon reflection, I began the Sheloshim Period (the initial thirty days of mourning) by asking all in attendance at services to rise as I read the eleven names and led the Mourner’s Kaddish. Everyone joined me in the recitation, and it was comforting to hear one vast communal voice.  At the conclusion of the Sheloshim Period, I continued to read all eleven names and recite the Mourner’s Kaddish, as I had assumed the personal mitzvah of doing so, and many, if not most, of the congregation also did so, without any ask on my part. The recitation became for so many a personal expression of their grief and mourning, an acknowledgement that we turn to our Creator for comfort and strength. 

The end of the eleven months marks another phase of the healing process.  We will always be healing, never healed. Reminders surround us every hour of every day. The uniqueness that is Pittsburgh is the ability to do this together. We are not merely our brother or sister’s keeper, as God rhetorically inquired of Cain, but also our brother and sister’s helper, as so eloquently encouraged by Mr. Rogers. The support from all those around us, regardless of color, religion, or sexual orientation, is what propels us headlong through each day, each hour. Knowing that there are helpers regularly placed along our path is a reminder that God’s presence continues in ways that we may never truly understand. 

God full of mercy, who dwells on high, establish proper rest upon the wings of the Divine Presence, on the levels of the holy and pure ones who shine like the splendor of the firmament, for the souls of the Kedoshim of Pittsburgh.

Joyce Fienberg

Richard Gottfried

Rose Mallinger

Jerry Rabinowitz

Cecil Rosenthal

David Rosenthal

Bernice Simon

Sylvan Simon

Dan Stein

Mel Wax

Irv Younger

May they rest in peace.  Amen.

Mon, August 2 2021 24 Av 5781