I was honored to have been asked by three spiritual communities in Los Angeles to offer some reflections on my experience saying Kaddish for my mother at a community program on the fast day known as Tish'ah B'Av (the 9th of Av). These are the remarks I delivered (slightly edited for publication).
After the death of my mother in May 2011, I said Kaddish every day (more or less) for the full year. And I said Kaddish at three different shuls in Los Angeles, with many of you – it’s my honor to reflect on this ritual with you, with these three communities present. Also, my mother was a big believer in finding laughter whenever it was possible. So in that spirit, if anything I'm about to say strikes you as funny, feel free to laugh.
When I started my year of mourning, I already knew something about Kaddish – that there’s no mention of death in it, that the prayer is an affirmation of belief in God, and that the structure of saying Kaddish is meant to help the grieving to reconnect to community after a serious loss.
Over the course of that year, and revisiting Kaddish annually for Yahrzeit and Yizkor, I’ve expanded my reflection on the ritual, the process of attending daily minyan and the contents of the liturgy.