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Saying Kaddish

- Abstract

have recently gotten into the habit of saying Kaddish, the Jewish memorial prayer, for Gentiles. This may be unusual, but I need no rationale to justify extending a traditional Jewish family rite to non-Jews. The persons for whom I say Kaddish were all members of my so-to-speak extended family—in-laws on my wife’s side of whom I was fond.

Still, I am puzzled about this newfangled practice of mine. For I still remember all too vividly a time in my life when saying Kaddish was a daily torment, a reminder of my hapless confusion and disorientation as an orphan boy in a world ruled by crabby old men passing their final gray years in ritual repetition of prayers they did not understand. And here I am now, myself an aged, too often angry man in a world with which I am not at ease, seizing every opportunity to recite the same Kaddish that was the bane of my existence some 60 years ago! Why do I persist in going back time after time to that low point from which I have struggled so long and hard to rise?

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