Methods of Memorialization & Commemoration
There are many who wish that the passing of a person close to them shall not be removed from their daily lives, and in truth this is also impossible. We ask that for those close to us, and in the future for ourselves as well, there shall be a continuation of the memory, a continuation of the integration in the tapestry of continuing life. We wish for those close to us, and in the future for ourselves as well, a marker that will delay forgetting and that something of us will remain in this world.
What can we do?
The idea is to recount again and again, in various ways, the story of life and by this to keep its dead heroes with us.
Therefore it is desirable to place the memory of the deceased in the dimension of life and not in emotions – as genuine and honest as they may be – with which we are flooded after his passing. It is true that sometimes the event of the death of a person is a testimony to his character, his accomplishments and so forth and we must not disregard this moment, however thereafter we must return to the path of his life and not specifically to the feelings, which are legitimate and understandable, that those surrounding him feel at the time of his death.
The way in which we choose to remember and memorialize should reflect the figure memorialized, shall connect to a feature or an occupation or a field of interest or a field of creativity or a field of thought and intimacy.
A general note: We use the term: deceased and we mean those who pass away in any way, women and men, those who die or who fall in action, children and the elderly.
We propose here various ways of commemoration and memorialisation:
A memorial notebook
A prevalent and accepted method is to publish a notebook in which the life history of the deceased is collected, stories and memories from the stations of his life, photographs, words that he wrote including parts of letters. The objective of the notebook is leave something “in the hand” of everyone close to him, through which he can frequently meet up with the deceased.
This method of memorialisation is suitable for one who has left written works or other creative works and for one for whom “living” stories and memories can be collected about him. Those choosing this method should take their time. Notebooks that are published proximate to the date of the death memorialize the bitter end and not his active life.
The intention is to a study-based gathering, on various topics, dedicated to the memory of the deceased. This method of memorialisation is customary and prevalent in the tradition of various groups in Israel, mostly religious groups. This method can be adopted and diversified by use by various didactic measures, according to the subject matter, the nature of the community and deceased.
There are those who pass away who were lovers of nature and lovers of Israel, those who liked trips and treks. A good way to preserve their memory and their spirit is to take a trip – by foot, by car, on bikes, perhaps in the air or the sea – freely or with a guide, as a navigation route or a route with puzzles and tasks; again, in a suitable fashion for the person whom you wish to memorialize.
A gathering for an evening sing-along to commemorate the memory of one who loved to sing, or the memory of one who was in a singing group: choir, a singing company, a singing class and so forth. Sing-along evenings can be focussed on one subject or just for fun. They are most successful when a professional master of ceremonies leads them. Alongside evening sing-alongs there are also choir or group gatherings.
There are several possible types of exhibitions:
a. Photographs and displays showing the deceased’s life
b. Photographs and works by the deceased
c. Photographs and works which reflect the occupation or “the loves” of the deceased
d. An exhibition exhibiting not specifically artistically which connects with the deceased
“Contribution to society”
A good way to commemorate and memorialize the deceased is by a contribution to society. That is to say, a humanitarian or volunteer activity or any activity that helps a group or groups in society needing reinforcement or help, such as: help to groups of children, or new immigrants, or soldiers, or the disabled and so forth.
Production of a CD in which words about the deceased are heard and/or his own words spoken by him. Suitable for a deceased who was engaged in musical activity of all types: writing, singing, playing an instrument and so forth.
A possible and prevalent way of memorializing is a dedication of something valuable, by means of a suitable inscription, in memory of the deceased. Dedication of a torah scroll, a bench in the synagogue, a medical device, study equipment, original artwork and more, and these are only some of the many possible examples.
Another type of dedication is of articles and books. Here the writer carries out his work without any connection necessarily to the deceased however dedicated to him, as an act of memorialisation, such as: in memory of parents, in memory of those who have fallen in action, in memory of a friend or a student and even in memory of a congregation that is no more.
A nature site
Another way of memorializing and commemorating is placing in the surrounding scenery or calling a nature site in the name of the deceased, or helping in construction of a new site that will bear the name of the deceased. The size of the site and its character are dependent also on the ability to raise resources and also in coordination with the entities responsible for preserving and planning the environment and the landscape.
An internet website
Today there are also options of creating an internet website that will bear the name of the deceased. The site will engage in an issue that is close to the deceased or close to his character, his world view, the field of his occupation and so forth.
A sports event
A sporting organization, competitive or amateur, which will commemorate the deceased. The memorialisation is also an event in itself as well as items, certificates, prizes and so forth distributed during the event.
Library/CD library and so forth
Another way of active commemoration is to build a library or a CD library around which an activity will take place. Sometimes the library or the CD library already exist in the home of the deceased and now they are opened to the public to read, listen to or borrow. In other cases they are organized in a school, a community centre and so forth, when the public is invited to story evenings or musical evenings, both intimate and open to the public.
Funding study or creativity grants is another way of calling something in the name of the deceased, which has continuity and a future. Help in funding studies or in completion of an artwork is memorialisation that is also connected with the living dimension. Similar to existing grants or prizes, these are awarded as a rule for an act that has already been carried out, but it enables to again remember the deceased each time it is awarded.
Note: Some of the activities noted are one-time activities, such as the notebook, CD and various dedications therefore they require a one-off coordination and effort. Other activities are repeat activities such as sports tournaments, sing-alongs etc, and they require long term organization and looking forward to see that it continues after the first time it is presented.