Is there a reason why rituals for remembering the departed are the way they are? Why do we remember the details about other people that we do, and why do these memories fade and distort over time? How does forgetting help us remember? Dr. Azi Grysman, a researcher on memory, takes what he has learned about how the brain works and applies it to an understanding of Jewish ritual, in hopes of discovering how such traditions have remained strong over time.

(This post is part of Sinai and Synapses’ project Scientists in Synagogues, a grass-roots program to offer Jews opportunities to explore the most interesting and pressing questions surrounding Judaism and science. As part of the program, Dr. Azi Grysman led a series of talks and classes on this topic at B’nai Israel Congregation in Baltimore, MD, bringing a Jewish perspective to the science of memory. This session was recorded on March 15, 2021).

 

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