Memorial Day Thoughts
By Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky, Executive Director
Excerpted from "Sacred
Intentions: Daily Inspiration
to Strengthen the Spirit, Based on Jewish Wisdom"
Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky and Rabbi Lori Forman
c.1999, published by Jewish
When mentioning a righteous person,
add a blessing for that person.
The first day of spring never varies. It always occurs
on the vernal equinox in April. The same used to be
true of days like Memorial Day. Now the date varies
each year, since it is fixed at the last Monday in May.
for most people, Memorial Day--the last few waning days
of spring in May--serves as a doorway to summer. This
is particularly the case in northern climes, where swimming
pools open on Memorial Day weekend and people begin
to focus on the outdoors. Lawn chairs come out. Barbecue
grills are lit. One thing remains contant,
though: memory. Lots of people have memories of this
time of year--time with family, with friends. The school
year is nearing completion. Many businesses switch to
shorter summer hours. The world seems to slow down just
a little for a short time.
Some scholars argue that, for the spiritually oriented
person, memory is far more important than history. Rather
than being the accumulated record of events over time,
memory merges our presonal experience with the collective
experience of a nation and people. Memory paves a path
for current experience. Memory is not a passive accumulation
of past events. Rather, memory is an active experience,
because we have to create it for others.
So get ready for summer, and have a memorable time.