Unveiling of Tombstone for Larry Nathan

Please join us in honoring the life of Larry Nathan, who passed away unexpectedly earlier this year.

“HIS LIFE OUR DANCE | FOREVER IN THE HEARTS OF SO MANY”

The consecration and unveiling of the tombstone marking Larry Nathan’s grave will be held on Sunday December 08, 2013  at 10.00 am at West Park Cemetery, Johannesburg at 10.30 AM, following the consecration of the tombstone for Larry’s mother, Sonia Nathan, which will be at 10.00 am same day and place.

Rabbi Moshe Sher will officiate

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It has been an honor and privilege to be able to organize this unveiling for Larry, with the kind help of Rabbi Sher. Thank you.  It has been a helpful step in my own grief process, as I have yet to come to terms with the reality of the sudden loss of Larry. Though the thought of arriving in Johannesburg and not being able to see Larry again is daunting, the notion of this ceremony offers healing.  It also helps to know that we have been able to ensure that Larry’s legacy will live on through the blessings provided by his life, and that his truth of purpose has been honored through the generous provisions of his estate. And now I hope that those who he touched will come and help honor him at this important time. Any questions please contact me – Melanie Nathan – at commissionermnathan@gmail.com

The custom of placing a monument over the grave of a departed person is a very ancient Jewish tradition. The Book of Genesis, for example, records that Jacob erected a tombstone over the grave of his wife Rachel. From Biblical times onward, wherever Jewish communities have existed, Jews have continued this practice of erecting a memorial in honor of their deceased.

The tombstone is erected to indicate clearly where a person is buried, so that family and friends may visit the gravesite. It is also a way of remembering and honoring the memory of the person who has died.

Today, we refer to the ceremony of formally consecrating a tombstone as an “unveiling”. While this ceremony has no origin in pre-modern Jewish life, this has become an acceptable practice today.

An unveiling takes place during the first year after death. There are no strict guidelines for the timing of an unveiling, and, while families may choose a date at any time after the end of the Shiva, it has become a contemporary practice to schedule this ceremony for some time between the end of Shloshim, the thirty day period of intensive mourning, and the first Yahrzeit, the anniversary of a death.

PSYCHOLOGICAL FUNCTION OF THE UNVEILING

The unveiling is a mourning ritual which serves a very specific function in the healing process of the bereaved. It is not simply a perfunctory ritual, but rather, like the funeral, Shiva, Shloshim and Kaddish, the unveiling provides mourners with the opportunity for emotional and psychological healing.

The physical act of erecting and unveiling a monument allows for the expression of the sad and painful emotions of grief. Family members gather together, often from cities which are miles apart, and continue their mourning as a family, lending each other comfort and support in dealing with their grief.

For individuals who were not able to attend the funeral or Shiva, the unveiling ritual provides yet another opportunity to grieve and to acknowledge one’s loss. Although painful, this realistic experience of grief can, over time, be very healing for mourners.

During the unveiling of a monument, as one sees the name of a beloved family member etched in stone, there is a stark realization of the finality of death. The impact can be quite jarring to some, and yet, at the same time, can provide a further opportunity to accept the reality of the loss. Thus, the unveiling ritual allows mourners to face death and loss realistically, and to affirm a commitment to life and to living.

The unveiling also allows the bereaved family members to honor and to recall the memory of their departed. It is a chance to continue to reflect upon the significance of that person’s life, his or her accomplishments, and the people who were important. In a sense, through the unveiling, the memory of a person’s life is etched permanently into the collective memory of the Jewish community. Source: http://www.benjamins.ca/Static/landmark/unveiling.htm

READ MORE about Larry


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