It's been awhile since we've posted here, but found myself drawn back to this beloved space. I always hold Grandpa Jack in my thoughts and close to my heart, but this time of the year I reflect even more deeply as the first anniversary of his death approaches. I'm still floored by how many ways he's touched and impacted the lives of others, including my own. He is greatly loved and forever missed.
This past Sunday, November 4th a small group of family gathered at Mt. Sinai to unveil the plaque and share memories. It was a bit of an untraditional unveiling and just how Jack would've liked it - humble, simple and thoughtful.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with the tradition of unveiling the headstone here is a brief summary: The custom of placing a monument over the grave of a departed person is a very ancient Jewish tradition. The Book of Genesis, for example, records that Jacob erected a tombstone over the grave of his wife Rachel. From Biblical times onward, wherever Jewish communities have existed, Jews have continued this practice of erecting a memorial in honor of their deceased.
The tombstone is erected to indicate clearly where a person is buried, so that family and friends may visit the gravesite. It is also a way of remembering and honoring the memory of the person who has died.
An unveiling takes place during the first year after death. There are no strict guidelines for the timing of an unveiling, and, while families may choose a date at any time after the end of the Shiva, it has become a contemporary practice to schedule this ceremony for some time between the end of Shloshim, the thirty day period of intensive mourning, and the first Yahrzeit, the anniversary of a death. The mourners prayer is usually read and sometimes the ceremony is performed by a rabbi. It is also customary to leave a rock or pebble at the grave to signify that there has been a visitor and to honor the deceased.
Harriett decided that she would like to keep the ceremony as positive as possible and was very clear that this wasn't supposed to be like another funeral. She shared some of her written words of remembrance, love and gratitude. Remembering Jack and all of his wonderful attributes and gifts that are left in his legacy.
We spent the afternoon sharing memories and stories; eating and drinking. It was a very special day to say the least!
What better time to share Jack's beautiful plaque with everyone and honor him on this Veterans Day Weekend!
Photo courtesy of Dan Root