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Yizkor and Kindness: Elevating the Soul, the Self and the World

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Yizkor is founded on two fundamental Jewish beliefs. Firstly, the prayers and actions of people in this world can have an elevating, spiritual effect on the souls of the departed. Secondly, a primary mission in every person’s life is to make the world a kinder, better, more beautiful place. In Jewish life, this pursuit of kindness is known as olam chesed yibaneh, “to build a world of kindness.

Yizkor is a beautiful expression of these ideas. The central element of yizkor is the commitment to make a charitable donation in honor of one's departed relative. By making a commitment and effort to do kindness, both he/she and the departed relative become partners in this act of kindness. The act benefits threefold: the one performing the kindness becomes a better, more giving person; the recipient benefits; and the departed soul is elevated. (click here for places you can donate)