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How will we recite Yizkor this holiday?
Due to the current covid crisis, when synagogue services are restricted, many are asking how Yizkor, the memorial service for departed loved ones, should be recited.  (Typically, this special prayer is recited in synagogues on Yom Kippur as well as the last days of major holidays, including Sukkot.  The last day of Sukkot this year is Saturday, October 10).
Typically we honor the legacy of our departed loved ones by reciting this memorial prayer in a communal setting in shul, with the Torah scrolls bearing witness to our testaments of love, loyalty, gratitude and continuity.  This year will certainly be different, but not less meaningful.  While synagogue attendance is an important element of Yizkor, it is not a requirement when it is not possible.  This year, we honor the legacy of our departed loved ones by protecting life and staying home.  We will make our homes the shul, our prayer books our Torah.  This year, what we can do with a minyan of ten, we can accomplish with a minyan of one.  This is the call of the hour and this is the best way to honor them.
Chabad is offering two options:  1) Guidance on how to do it yourself at home.  2) Chabad can recite Yizkor on your behalf.  
Option 1 - Make Rabbi Pesach your Proxy
I am volunteering to serve as your proxy and representative in offering the Yizkor prayer for your loved ones on your behalf on Saturday, October 10. (I am doing this with the permission of my parents, may they live and be well, as I usually observe the custom to step out of the Yizkor service in respect to them).
  • Simply email me ([email protected]) the name and father's name of your loved ones (provide Hebrew names if you have it), with "Yizkor" in the subject line.  I will mention the name of each departed loved one for you. 
  • Submit names until Friday, October 9, 4:00 pm.  (I will not be checking email after that time until after the holiday).
  • To make an optional donation, please click here.  (Donations are not required for this service, but greatly appreciated!)
Option 2 - DIY
Alternatively (or additionally), you can recite Yizkor at home.  Here is a step-by-step guide: 
  1. Print the text - Before the holiday starts print this Yizkor text.
  2. Light a 24-hour Memorial Candle on Wednesday eve, after while lighting holiday candles for Shmini Atzeret, Friday, October 9, 6:04 pm.  Important note:  Please light these candles from a pre-existing flame (as initiating a fire is prohibited on the holiday).  There is no blessing recited when you light the memorial candle, although it is certainly appropriate to reflect upon the memory of loved ones. The candle may be placed anywhere SAFE in the home. 
  3. Recite, on Saturday morning, October 10, which is the Last Day of Sukkot, the Yizkor Memorial Prayers (from the pre-printed text). When it comes the time to mention the names it's best to use the Hebrew name and their father's Hebrew name (if you have it).
  4. Kaddish is not recited privately.  (Ironically, this time we honor our loved ones by not reciting kaddish).
  5. It's customary to pledge a donation to charity. This is so that the memory of a loved one is immediately followed by and connected to a good deed.

If you would like to make that pledge to Chabad of Orange County (which we'd gladly accept), please click here.

May the souls of our loved ones achieve an aliya (ascendancy) in the heavens above, and may they prevail upon Hashem to bring this awful pandemic to a swift end, along with a full and speedy recovery to all who have suffered any ill effects from the devastating virus, and to bring blessings of health and prosperity to your family and friends.
With love and blessings for a Happy & Healthy Last Days of Sukkot & Simchat Torah, and may it also be the last days of this pandemic!
Rabbi Pesach


If you have any questions, please always feel free to ask me!
To learn more about Yizkor, click here.
To learn more about the Sukkot & Simchat Torah, click here