Online Memorials Becoming More Prevalent and Now Simpler Than Ever

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Yizkor.com offers free interactive memorials on the web. Users can upload biographies, timelines, family trees, photos and videos. Family and friends can then leave stories and memories of the deceased.

Like it or not, the internet has become our second face to the world. While some bemoan the reality that a Facebook profile is surely not as personal as a face-to-face interaction, others argue that the internet allows us to maintain a social network that is greater in size and surely better informed than the alternative. A present-day snapshot of our lives illustrates that we celebrate lifecycle events with others, invest, study, plan for the future, and even express our most fervently held ideas via the World Wide Web.

So it should come as no surprise that a new website has been launched for the creation of comprehensive online memorials. Yizkor.com (http://www.yizkor.com) is a non-for-profit initiative of one of the founders of popular photo-sharing portal OnlySimchas.com addressing a shift in the way we memorialize those who have passed away.

For example, Daniel recently lost his father who lived in Long Beach, NY. He logged on to Yizkor.com and, following three simple steps, created a unique website for his father. He uploaded the video of the funeral and some cherished photos of his father's happiest days. His sister then added a short biography and completed a family tree. They sent the website out to a network of close family and friends to help in the healing process. Those who had personal remembrances contributed them to the "Stories and Memories" section, while others decided to simply "Leave a Stone" (a touching application which displays a graphic of a small stone next to the well-wisher's name.)

The result of their actions is an interactive memorial book that is as limitless as the ways in which the deceased touched the lives of his family, friends, professional colleagues, and acquaintances. It improves on the inherent limitations of physical scrapbook because it can be viewed around the globe simultaneously, it does not decay or burn, and is as fluid and organic as its participants wish it to be.

In addition, Yizkor.com offers its visitors the option to be reminded of anniversaries, allowing families to commemorate important dates as a group. The page also provides a customizable link to direct guests to the designated charity through which to honor the deceased, giving families the ability to indicate their charity of choice.

The inspiration for Yizkor.com, named for the moving memorial prayer by the same name, is Tikva Children's Home, a Ukrainian orphanage that cares for 300 of the world's poorest children. "Whether orphaned or abandoned," says Joseph Markovitz, Yizkor.com director, "these children have few if any ties to parents or family. They have no connection to their past and consequently no legacy for their future. It is their story that inspired us to turn to the internet to create a repository for permanent online memorials."

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Joseph Markovitz
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