What is Yahrzeit?

When remembering our loved ones who have passed on, we tend to be somber and sad.  Having lost my father 5 years ago it is something I understand very well.  However, in Judaism, the Yahrzeit (pronounced Yart-site) the Jewish calendar anniversary of someone’s death, in some ways is a special time and one to be celebrated.  Yahrzeit means “a year’s time” and represents the ascent of the Neshama (soul) to a higher level each year.  It is believed that by our good deeds and prayers we help that Neshama reach that higher level and that we look positively and happily at that event as we remember the ones we lost. As with all Jewish calendar days, the Yahrzeit begins at sundown.  This Saturday night and Sunday we celebrate the 5th Yahrzeit of my father Rabbi Nardus Groen.  His story, together with that of my mother Sipora Groen, can be found in the book Jew Face.  It is my hope that in the way I portrayed him in the book and let people know of his greatness, that I have done something to help his soul reach higher levels.  My hope and prayer is that we give love and respect to all those most important to us in our lives and do not wait till they have passed on to do so.

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