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Reflecting on the holidays, Dennis Gura writes a moving poem about Yizkor and the whispers of loved ones.

The holidays are joyful, yes,
This one full of family,
Friends, food (well, I guess
Matzoh counts), wine (okay
I drank too much!), song,
Talk. A week break
To celebrate.

But this one, like others
Embed that somber note,
The brief reverie,
The collective embrace
The personal memory,
The broken heart.

Yizkor comes: I welcome
Yizkor, I welcome the
Regulated time to say
Names not regularly, nor
casually, uttered. I
Welcome the quiet moment,
Shoulder to shoulder
With both friends and
Strangers when we

Remember, remember,
And make real the
Memory. A chance again
To say the usually
Unuttered names, with
Lilted and broken hearts.

Hello, my loves,
Glad to think of you
All again. And think of you
Whispering in my ear.

A native Angeleno, Dennis Gura went to school, went to work, married, raised two sons, and lost one daughter, visits Israel with some regularity, and likes to consider himself a serious Jew. 



Renowned Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai offers profound thought in his poems, "Death of My Father" and "Forgetting Someone."


The strangeness of death, of loss, is that no matter how many books we read, how many philosophical discussions we have, how many psychologists we speak with, how many times we experience it, it will always be elusive—impossible to understand.


This Weekend Reader highlights some of the great Jewish thinkers from past and present to better understand this weighty question.