On the Day of the Dead, I Say Mourner's Kaddish 2023On the Day of the Dead, I Say Mourner's Kaddish 2023

On the Day of the Dead, I Say Mourner’s Kaddish 2023

Mourner’s Kaddish : I don’t think it matters that the people I have loved and lost weren’t Jewish because I am a Mexican convert. The fact that I can still remember them matters.

On the Day of the Dead, I Say Mourner's Kaddish 2023
On the Day of the Dead, I Say Mourner’s Kaddish 2023

The Mourner’s Kaddish is a prayer that I particularly like. I believe there is a certain beauty in a prayer specifically for mourning. The prayer itself is even more lovely; rather than being a lament, it is an expression of gratitude for God’s kindness and holiness.

However, I never offer the Mourner’s Kaddish while in service. It’s not that I don’t have anyone to grieve for; rather, it’s because the people I lost were not Jewish. I have no Jewish relatives who would be familiar with or understand the Mourner’s Kaddish because I am a convert. I contemplated saying the Mi Sheberach in prayer for my uncle while he was in the hospital. Would he want my prayer as a Catholic? How could he care? Could God?

Thus, aside from once a year, I don’t stand and recite Kaddish during services.

I first became aware of the little table in my great-aunt’s living room when I was in elementary school. The house was decked out for Halloween, but there was a small table with skulls and pictures in a living room corner.

She clarified, “It’s an altar for Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.”

Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday observed to pay tribute to and remember departed family members. After Disney released the film “Coco” a few years ago, the holiday and custom gained greater traction. Today, Day of the Dead decorations coexist with Halloween ones at Target and other stores.

This day’s history has its roots in Catholicism. All Hallow’s Eve is Halloween, a largely secular holiday observed in the United States these days because November 1 is All Saints Day observed by the Catholic Church. All Souls Day, which falls on November 2, is essentially a scaled-down version of All Saints Day. It is a day to honor the common people who have departed, following the saints who have been honored. Día de los Muertos, which originated as All Souls Day, is a celebration that combines Catholic and pagan customs in Mexico.

The ofrenda, an altar where people place photos of their deceased, is the most famous. Typically, the altar is covered with marigolds and sugar skulls. On this day, there are parties, feasts, and celebrations in homes and cemeteries. It is a joyful occasion rather than a somber one, a moment to celebrate memories and welcome loved ones’ spirits home as if they might join you at the table to partake in the food.

When I was younger, I thought this was a neat holiday and found the skull imagery to be amusing. However, we had never hosted an ofrenda in our house because I had never lost anyone close to me.

And my uncle passed away.

My first ofrenda included a bottle of Diet Coke, a few tiny sugar skulls, a picture of my uncle, and the card from his funeral that had the Serenity Prayer on it. It was displayed in my college dorm room. He cherished Diet Coke. I resorted to familiar prayers that I had long since abandoned, not knowing how to commemorate this moment on my own. So, on Día de los Muertos, I stood in my dorm and prayed the rosary. Even though I wasn’t Catholic anymore, it seemed right to reminisce about my uncle on this Catholic holiday by praying the rosary—not a year later.

My ofrenda grew a little bit over the years; some years it was decorated more, and some years it was not. I always observed the day, even if it was just in my mind; it seemed significant to pause and honor the deceased. I knew I wanted to, even though I had no idea how. Maybe praying a prayer I didn’t believe in for a deceased relative who was by myself in my apartment didn’t matter, but it mattered to me, and that was reason enough to keep going.

My rabbi and I discussed holidays when I was converting, and she brought up Halloween. Because it had Christian origins, some members of the congregation chose not to celebrate it. Some believed it was so completely secularized that it was damage-free.

I had momentarily forgotten the holiday’s Catholic origins. And it occurred to me that maybe my celebrations for the Day of the Dead weren’t entirely kosher.

“If I were a non-Jew, could I say Kaddish?” So I did.

It varies, she remarked. “What would their thoughts be on it?”

Considering that none of the people I had lost got to witness my conversion to Judaism, I wasn’t sure.

On my first official Día de los Muertos as a Jew last year, I found it difficult to uphold these two customs. My family has always been Catholic, as far as I know, and I have always been Mexican-American. However, as I’ve matured, I’ve made my own decisions and decided to follow a Jewish lifestyle. Could I continue this Catholic Mexican tradition?

In my dining room, I constructed an ofrenda and stocked it with images of my great-grandparents and uncle. I even uploaded photos of my husband’s deceased relatives. Despite being a Mexican custom, Day of the Dead didn’t have to be observed exclusively by people of Mexican heritage. Now that my husband is dead, his dead are also my dead. I then laid down a tablecloth and set out photos of our loved ones, along with a yahrzeit candle, paper marigolds, and ceramic sugar skulls.

I prayed the Mourner’s Kaddish and lit a candle on Día de los Muertos.

Whether these people I have loved and lost were Jewish or Mexican, in the case of my husband’s family, doesn’t really matter in the end. The fact that I can still remember them matters. Respect them. that I set aside a day to reflect on their lives and give thanks to God for the opportunity to have known them and the time we shared.

We all dressed in athletic attire for my uncle’s funeral since he wouldn’t have wanted us to be depressed. He would have wanted us to celebrate and to represent the sports teams he loved. We wore Dodgers jerseys and Lakers t-shirts to honor his life, shared tales about him, and we shed tears and laughter. I watch the Dodgers game on the anniversary of his passing every year.He’s got his baseball cap in my ofrenda.

I no longer feel as sad when I think of him because now I concentrate on the times we spent together and the memories we have. I’m thankful for what was, rather than lamenting everything that was lost.

I have chocolate in remembrance of my great-grandmother on Day of the Dead, along with her knitting needles on the table beside my uncle’s Dodgers cap. I recall them exactly as I had known them. A candle is lit, and I am reminded.

I’m also praying the Kaddish for the Mourner now.

Tag : Mourner’s Kaddish, Mourner’s Kaddish, Mourner’s Kaddish, Mourner’s Kaddish, Mourner’s Kaddish, Mourner’s Kaddish,

See More…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *