Around the world this weekend, Jews will recite the Mourner’s Kaddish to mark the first anniversary of the shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The Kaddish offers students a unique opportunity to discuss the role of community in prayer, and how we can comfort each other in times of loss and struggle. It is the familiarity, more than the literal meaning of the words, that gives the Kaddish its power to comfort mourners.

After reciting the Kaddish, supplement the experience with some quick resources from the Hebrew in Harmony prayer curriculum that can help students understand its meaning and power. 



Rabbi Zoë Klein of Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles was inspired by the poetry of the Kaddish to write a poem of her own. Listen to it, and allow yourself to get lost in the words. 

Kaddish Poem by Rabbi Zoë Klein 

Play the recording again, and then ask students to pick one example of a rhyme or near-rhyme that they think is powerful. What makes it a powerful? Which words from the Kaddish do they hear in the poem? 


For other ideas of how to mark the anniversary, click here.




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