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5 Ways I’m Remembering My Family’s Immigrant Past



In light of President Trump’s recent Executive Order on immigration, friends and community members have been sharing their families’ immigrant pasts on social media. I have been touched by these personal narratives and photos, and reminded how important it is to keep the memories of our own foremothers and forefathers alive. My own relatives emigrated from Italy and settled in Newark, New Jersey shortly after arriving to Ellis Island in the early 1900s. As a parent, I feel it is my obligation and honor to pass this reverence of my family’s history to my children.

Fortunately, Jewish tradition provides the perfect vehicle to remember our ancestors and tell these stories—a yahrtzeit. Based on Jewish law, the yahrtzeit is essentially the anniversary of one’s death as calculated in accordance with the Hebrew calendar. A special yahrtzeit candle is lit at sundown and burns for 24 hours.