Laws of Yizkor

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The yizkor memorial prayer is included in the regular holiday service on four Jewish holidays. This gives the mourner regular opportunities to pray for the soul of the departed, to renew his own religious commitment, and to contribute charity in the name of the deceased.

  1. Yizkor is recited at the following times: Yom Kippur, Shemini Atzeres, the eighth day of Pesach, and the second day of Shavuos, even when these days occur on Shabbos.
  2. Yizkor must be recited for a deceased parent. In addition, yizkor may also be recited for all deceased relatives and friends if the person reading yizkor has a deceased parent. The Hebrew name of the deceased and the Hebrew name of the deceased's father should be mentioned.
  3. Although yizkor may be recited even if no minyan is available, it is preferable to recite it with a minyan.
  4. Yizkor is recited in the synagogue after the reading of the Torah portion, if that Yom Tov falls out on a day other than Shabbos. If Yom Tov coincides with Shabbos, yizkor is recited before Av Harachamim.
  5. Yizkor should be recited even during the first year after death.
  6. When saying yizkor for several people, parents should receive precedence. If both parents are deceased, either may be mentioned first.
  7. Names of men and women may be mentioned together.
  8. A person whose parents are both alive should not remain in the synagogue while yizkor is being recited.
  9. One who already is allowed to say yizkor for a deceased parent, may also say yizkor for a deceased spouse, even after remarriage.
  10. One who resides in Israel, but is temporarily out of Israel during a Yom Tov, should recite yizkor on the eighth day of Pesach and the second day of Shavuos as is done outside of Israel.
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