As we enter a New Year without our loved one, our memories of them and the experiences we shared with them may begin to feel further away. This activity invites us into presence with our memories and creates a physical keepsake we can revisit. You may want to begin collecting memories during Rosh Hashanah, and continue adding to the jar throughout the year. 

To start, place a large jar, decorated box or vessel in a convenient location. Next, whenever you have a memory of your loved one, write it down on a slip of paper and place it in the jar. If a memory crosses your mind and you don’t have access to paper, record a voice memo or type it into your phone so you can transfer it to paper later. Your memories can be simple, such as a holiday tradition, your loved one’s favorite food, or of an adventure or experience you shared. 

Any time you wish to recall their lives, take a note from the jar. You can also revisit memories at the start of another New Year, when you say Yizkor or Kaddish, each time you visit their grave, or mark their birthday or yahrzeit. You can create a scrapbook with photos that correspond to the memories. You can read the notes together with other family members or friends and then share the story of the memory together. Or, invite several people to share stories at your Rosh Hashanah seder, Yom Kippur break fast or Sukkot gathering.  

This ritual was adapted by Chloe Nassau, based on a creation from the Center for Loss & Renewal, Rabbi Benyamin Cirlin, LCSW

Booklet Section: Remembrance
Source: Chloe Nassau