As Yom Kippur approaches, Jews worldwide will be reciting the Yizkor memorial prayer to honor their loved ones. Traditionally, synagogues have relied on brass yahrzeit plaques displayed on memorial walls to commemorate the departed. However, a growing number of Jewish congregations in North America and Europe are now turning to digital memorials to modernize this practice.
These interactive digital memorials offer several advantages over traditional plaques. Not only do they allow for longer, more detailed biographies and photographs, but they also offer the convenience of accessibility from anywhere in the world, even through mobile phones. This innovative solution is particularly beneficial for synagogues that are merging or facing space constraints.
Despite the integration of technology, synagogues using these digital memorials have found ways to ensure compliance with religious observance. The memorials can be programmed to respect the ban on using technology during Shabbat and other holy days.
Beit Rayim Synagogue and School in Vaughan, Ontario, has become the first and only Canadian shul to embrace this digital memorial concept. However, other synagogues in Toronto and Montreal are also considering implementing this technology. In the United States, approximately 50 congregations have already installed these digital memorials, which are produced a Jewish company with a century-old history and strong ties to Toronto.
Discussing the impact of this new technology on Jewish memorial practices, Lorraine Bloom, the vice president of Beit Rayim Synagogue and School, and Heshy Spira, a partner at W and E Baum, the company manufacturing these digital memorial machines, join host Ellin Bessner on The CJN Daily podcast.
– The CJN Daily (www.cjnews.com)