December 26: Anniversary of Jack Benny's death
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 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:
Say a few words about what the person means to you. Alternatively you can say, "Oh G*d, grant us strength as we mourn the loss of (name). We will always have cherished memories of him/her. Bless our family with light and peace. May (name)'s memory continue to serve as a blessing and an inspiration to all who knew and loved him/her."
Light the candle.
Say "Zichrono/zichrona liveracha" ("His/her
memory is a blessing.")
(Hebrew pronunciation tip: "ch" is always a sound from the back of the throat, as in the word "chutzpah." Those who have difficulty with that sound sometimes substitute a "k" or "h" instead.)
You can also say the Mourner's Kaddish or the El Malei Rachamim (a prayer for resting souls) at this time.
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-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.
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
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.
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.