“Memorial Day may not be a Jewish holiday, but the concept of remembering and honoring our dead is certainly a Jewish value,” tweeted the Reform Judaism movement. It shared five prayers, including the mourner’s Kaddish, that it stated are appropriate to honor the holiday.
Held on the last Monday in May, the U.S. holiday—whose origins are reportedly during the U.S. Civil War—celebrates and commemorates those who have died in U.S. wars. After World War I, it memorialized victims of all U.S. wars, not just the Civil War. And modern commemorations include parades and laying a wreath in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
“Today, we remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” tweeted Jewish Community Services of South Florida. The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia added, “This Memorial Day, we honor and give thanks to those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend this nation. May their memories be for a blessing.”
“Honoring the service and sacrifice of our brave troops on this Memorial Day,” tweeted the Jewish Publication Society.
The American Jewish Historical Society, in New York, shared a photo of Navy Chaplain Edgar E. Siskin—former rabbi of New Haven, Conn.’s Congregation Mishkan Israel—conducting Memorial Day services in 1945 for Jewish Marines at an Okinawa, Japan, cemetery.