On October 27, the Pittsburgh Jewish community was changed forever. Their tragedy and loss is shared by Jews around the world. Together, we mourn the loss of eleven victims, and we grieve with their families as one people.
To honor the victims, we ask the Southern New Jersey community to participate in our memorial program, "Torah for the Soul: Mishna Neshama". Through the mitzvah of Torah study, we will honor our brothers and sisters of blessed memory.
In Jewish tradition, the community completes a unit of Torah, Mishnah, or Talmud study in the days following the death of a beloved family member or friend. At its completion, we hold a communal siyyum (Hebrew: סיום) (“completion”) in tribute and honor of the deceased.
We invite you to choose an individual Mishna passage, a chapter, or a tractate (book) of Mishnah, to study in memory of our brothers and sisters from the Tree of Life Congregation.
We have provided links to help you choose a Mishnah to study, a list of the names of the martyrs and a prayer to recite after study on their behalf. Per Jewish custom, we study Mishnah, then recite a prayer in memory of the deceased.
If you have not studied Mishnah before, we encourage you to start with Tractate Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) or Brachot (Blessings) as they contain many familiar topics and subjects.
If you have any questions, please contact Rabbi Ephraim Epstein at email@example.com, who would be happy to provide assistance.
-Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township
-Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh
-Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood Borough
-Cecil Rosenthal, 59, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh
-David Rosenthal, 54, (brother of Cecil), of Squirrel Hill
-Bernice Simon, 84, of Wilkinsburg
-Sylvan Simon, 86, (husband of Bernice), of Wilkinsburg
-Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh
-Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh
-Irving Younger, 69, of Mt. Washington, City of Pittsburg
The word “Mishna” in Hebrew is spelled mem, shin, nun and heh (משנה). When the letters are rearranged, they spell out the word "neshama" (soul). From this we learn that the Mishna is the soul of the Jewish Nation.
A message from the creator of the program, Rabbi Epstein:
What has kept the Jewish People alive and vibrant throughout generations of persecution? It is both the Written Torah and the Oral Torah. The Oral Torah in particular has allowed Jewish communities to flourish in disparate parts of the world - and to remain connected to each other.
The Mishna that is the bedrock of the Oral Torah,representing the eternal continuity of the Jewish Nation. This is why it is the Mishna that is assigned to all those coming to the Shiva.
Judaism teaches that the passing of a person is not the end. Rather, it is the beginning of a new existence for the soul of the deceased. Up until now, the soul and body existed together in this temporal world. After a passing, the soul exists in the Spiritual Realms in a state of eternal continuity - just like the existence of the Jewish Nation.
When we learn Mishna, it is not just elevating the soul of the deceased; we are reinforcing for ourselves the truth that a person’s neshama, soul, is the same eternal component that comprises the Jewish Nation.
Sunday, January 27, 2019 1 pm
Jewish Community Center
for our concluding program and celebration
Please share with us your thoughts upon completing your study.
Email Rabbi Epstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.