Av Harachamim: Remembering Our Shtetls and Martyrs

Noranda CHABAD, Perth, Western Australia

July 2018

After the torah reading on shabbat, we recite Av Harachamim

Av HaRachamim

Av HaRachamim – Wikipedia

Av Harachamim or Abh Haraḥamim (אב הרחמים‬ “Father [of] mercy” or “Merciful Father”) is a Jewish memorial prayer which was written in the late eleventh or early twelfth century, after the destruction of the Ashkenazi communities around the Rhine River by Christian crusaders during the First Crusade.[1] First appearing in prayer books in 1290, it is printed in every Orthodox siddur in the European traditions of Nusach Sefarad and Nusach Ashkenaz and recited as part of the weekly Shabbat services, or in some communities on the Shabbat before Shavuot and Tisha B’Av.[2][3]

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Av_HaRachamim

in the ArtScroll 

ArtScroll – Wikipedia

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ArtScroll

in Tehillat Hashem

Tehillat Hashem – Wikipedia

Tehillat Hashem (תְּהִלַּת ה’‬, “praise of God” in Hebrew) is the name of a prayer-book (known as a siddur in Hebrew) used for Jewish services in synagogues and privately by Hasidic Jews, specifically in the Chabad-Lubavitch community. The name of the siddur is taken from Psalm 145, verse 21, “Praise of God shall my mouth speak, and all flesh shall bless His holy Name forever and ever.”

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tehillat_Hashem

A noteworthy custom fitting the mood of the Sefira period deals with the prayer Av Harachamim. Av Harachamim, recited on Shabbat after the Torah reading was written in response to the Crusades. In it we memorialize the righteous martyrs and pray for retribution for their spilled blood. Av Harachamim is generally not recited on Shabbatot which have an added celebratory nature – such as Shabbat Mevarchim (the Shabbat in which we bless the new month). In many congregations during the Shabbatot of Sefirat Haomer, Av Harachamim is recited even on the Shabbatot in which we bless Iyar and Sivan. The Mishna Brura (284,18) adds, that even if there is a Brit Milah that Shabbat, giving us a second reason why Av Harachamim should not be recited, Av Harachamim is still said, since this was the season of the tragedies.

Before reading the Av Harachamim prayer,  we select one of the 6500 shtetls that existed before and during the Holocaust from this three volume set:

We then share the story of the particular shtetl to illustrate what we lost in Holocaust!

This week – Plunge / Plungyan

 

The encyclopedia of Jewish life before and during the Holocaust / editor in chief, Shmuel Spector ; consulting editor, Geoffrey Wigoder ; foreword by Elie Wiesel – Collections Search – United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The encyclopedia of Jewish life before and during the Holocaust / editor in chief, Shmuel Spector ; consulting editor, Geoffrey Wigoder ; foreword by Elie Wiesel – Collections Search – United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Source: collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/bib63061

With thanks to Rabbi Marcus Solomon of Dianella Mizrachi Shule for sharing this idea with me.

Thanks to Michelle Urban and the Western Australian JHGS for allowing me to use these books from their excellent library housed at Noranda CHABAD.

For more on Plunge visit the KehilaLink:

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