The ancient custom of Kever Avot, literally “graves of the fathers,” dates almost as far back as Jews themselves. “It’s part of a basic concept in the earliest stratum of Judaism that you to go the grave of the patriarchs in Hebron and they’ll intercede on your behalf,” said Pinchas Giller, American Jewish University professor of medieval Jewish thought. “Even talmudic traditions have the notion of people going to the grave of the patriarchs to ask for things.”
The tradition of visits before the High Holy Days began in the 14th century. More recent Jewish history recounts regular pilgrimages to the burial sites of revered rabbis and loved ones in Sephardic and pre-World War II European Jewish communities on the anniversary of a death, fast days and other times during the year. Visitors showed love and respect for the departed and prayed for the soul’s safe journey to heaven.
Join Rabbi Wolf Alterman for a brief socially-distanced Kever Avot service to remember and honor friends and family we’ve lost during the year. Please remember to wear a mask.