The bellow statement was accepted by the Kehillah Management Commitee during the Committee’s meeting in July 2019. This will also be added to the new Kehillah website, which is in progress.
It is the minhag (custom) at Kehillah North London that we do not keep a yahrzeit list to read each time we meet, nor do we allocate mitzvot or aliyot in advance of the service except in the case of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. The Spiritual Leader does not recite names of yahrzeits; the person marking the yahrzeit does so when prompted.
Creating a yahrzeit list is a considerable administrative undertaking that requires not only using a fully updated database (which in itself is an ongoing work in progress) but also compiling information about members going back decades; information we likely do not have, or would have difficulty obtaining. Maintaining the list would require similar hours of upkeep and update. As our administrator is part-time, this is not a good use of time or resources at this point for our community but in the future, this could be an incredibly valuable resource for the community if we are in a position to undertake the project.
Allocating aliyot for yahrzeits is not something that progressive synagogues typically do (with the possible exception of some Masorti communities), and would be a departure from our current custom. Aliyot are given within our community on the day and from within the community gathered in the room at the start of the service, as with all of our mitzvot. We warmly welcome any members wishing to obtain an aliyah or other mitzvah in the service to arrive on time, if not slightly early, to make their preferences known to the warden and service leader.
Yahrzeits are announced by the mourner who is observing at the time that Kaddish is recited. Exceptions to this rule include members who are unable to attend but have asked in advance for their yahrzeit to be mentioned; national or local community tragedies that warrant special mention; or widely-
known secular or Jewish figures of particular note to the community.
If a member does have a bereavement or a yahrzeit that they would like commemorated in some way, please do reach out to Cantor Tamara and she would be more than happy to have a conversation about how best to support both pastorally and ritually during times of grief and bereavement.
Cantor Tamara Wolfson
Spiritual Leader, Kehillah North London