December 26:  Anniversary of Jack Benny's death

December 26, 2010 - A Penny for Benny

Hi folks...as luck would have it, I will be in Los Angeles on the anniversary of Jack's passing this year.  So for any of our members who will be in the Los Angeles area, let's get together and celebrate Jack's life!

Please RSVP to president@jackbenny.org if you plan on attending.  Thanks in advance.

Can't attend but want to be a part of it?

It is customary that when you visit a Jewish gravesite, you place a stone on it in preference to flowers.  This is partly because flowers are considered to be something "for the living"; and during the age of pogroms in Eastern Europe, graves would be marked with stones so they could be found again upon returning to one's village (especially if surrounding landmarks had been destroyed).   Specifically for Jack and without any overt coordination or agreement, this practice has evolved into leaving a penny or other coin at his grave.  

So if you can't be there in person but want to be there in spirit, you can send a penny, coin, rock, or similar object to be placed at Jack's grave to:  Hillside Memorial Park (address above) to the attention of Laura Leff and Jill Glasband.

And if you really take after Jack's character and feel it's silly to spend 44 cents (plus the cost of an envelope) to send a penny, you can send your sentiment via E-mail to president@jackbenny.org with a subject of "12/26."  I will consolidate your E-mails and place a printed copy of them at Jack's grave.

At one of our chats, Jack's granddaughter, Maria, mentioned that Jack was concerned that people would forget him after he died.  As evidenced by the continued enthusiasm for his work, this fear was unfounded.  I have always observed this date by listening to a Jack Benny Program that I have not previously heard.  I encourage any fan of Jack's to find a way to commemorate this date in a way that is relevant to you.

A few words on the practice of Jewish mourning.  It is customary that when you visit a gravesite, you place a stone on it in preference to flowers.  This is partly because flowers are considered to be something "for the living"; and during the age of pogroms in Eastern Europe, graves would be marked with stones so they could be found again upon returning to one's village (especially if surrounding landmarks had been destroyed).   If anyone happens to be visiting Jack's grave, it would be appreciated if you could put an additional stone for the members of the fan club who cannot be there.

On the yahrtzeit (anniversary of one's death), a candle is lit.  The practice is as follows:

Mourner's Kaddish
(Transliteration/phonetic Aramaic)
Yit-ga-dal ve-yit-ka-dash she-mei ra-ba
Be-al-ma di-ve-ra chi-re-u-tei ve-yam-lich mal-chutei
Be-cha-yei-chon u-ve-yo-mei-chon u-ve-cha-yei de-chol beit Yisrael,
Ba-a-ga-la u-vi-ze-man ka-riv, ve-i-me-ru:  a-mein.

Ye-hei she-mei ra-ba me-va-rach le-a-lam u-le-al-mei al-ma-ya.

Yit-ba-rach ve-yish-ta-bach, ve-yit-pa-ar ve-yit-ro-mam ve-yit-na-sei,
Ve-yit-ha-dar ve-yit-a-leh ve-yit-he-lal she-mei de-ku-de-sha, be-rich hu,
Le-ei-la min kol bi-re-cha-ta ve-shi-ra-ta,
Tush-be-cha-ta ve-ne-che-ma-ta, da-a mi-ran be-al-ma, ve-i-me-ru:  a-mein.

Ye-hei she-la-ma ra-ba min she-may-ya ve-cha-yim a-lei-nu ve-al kol Yis-ra-eil, ve-i-me-ru:  a-mein.

O-seh sha-lom bi-me-ro-mav, hu ya-a-seh sha-lom a-lei-nu ve-al kol Yis-ra-eil, ve-i-me-ru:  a-mein.

(Translation)
Let the glory of G*d be extolled, let G*d's great name be hallowed, in the world whose creation G*d willed. May G*d's sovereignty soon prevail, in our own day, our own lives, and the life of all Israel, and let us say amen.

Let G*d's great name be blessed for ever and ever.

Let the name of G*d be glorified, exalted, and honored, though G*d is beyond all the praises, songs, and adorations that we can utter, and let us say amen.

For us and for all Israel, may the blessing of peace and the promise of life come true, and let us say amen.

May G*d who causes peace to reign in the high heavens, let peace descend on us, on all Israel and all the world, and let us say amen.

Eil Malei Rachamim - for male
(Transliteration/phonetic Hebrew)
Eil malei rachamim sho-chein bam'romim ham-tzei m'nuchah n'chonah tachat kanfei ha-sh'chinah, b'ma-alot k'doshim u-t'horim k'zohar ha-rakiya maz'hirim et nish-mat (name) ben (parents' names) she-halach l'olamo, b'gan eiden t'hei menuchato.  Ana, ba-al ha'rachamim, hastireihu b'seiter k'nafecha l'olamim, u'tzror bi'tzror ha'chayim et nishmato, Hashem hu nachalato, v'yanu'ach b'shalom al mishkavo, v'nomar amein.

(Translation)
G*d of compassion, grant perfect peace in Your sheltering Presence, among the holy and the pure who shine in the brightness of the firmament, to the soul of our dear (name) son of (parents' names), who has gone to his eternal rest.  G*d of compassion, remember all his worthy deeds in the land of the living.  May his soul be bound up in the bond of everlasting life.  May G*d be his inheritance.  May he rest in peace.  And let us answer amen.