W&E Baum, a Freehold, N.J.-based company, recently patented a technology that allows synagogue memorial boards to require minimal maintenance and that can automatically turn yahrzeit lights on and off.
The automated yahrzeit lighting is available on new boards or can be retrofitted for old memorial boards. The system uses LED lights, which have a long life and lower voltage than most lights. This way, the board does not require someone turning lights on and off, and children can’t play with them or stick their fingers in light sockets.
The LED system runs off of a spreadsheet that has yahrzeit dates programmed into it, and it adjusts for changes in the Hebrew calendar, as well.
“Like everything else, we have to make Judaism more relevant to us,” said Shelly Lohmann, a Baltimore-based sale srepresentative for W&E Baum. “As we move into a more technical, modern [age], you want to memorialize, but you want to do it in your own way.”
If plaques are moved, in cases where a husband or a wife is moved to be next to his or her spouse, the spreadsheet can be adjusted, and the settings will moved to where the plaque is.
W&E Baum, a family-owned business since 1920, also designs and manufactures donor walls and tree-of-life walls.
“We have very modern ways of doing memorial boards without the bronze plaques, because many congregations are running out of space,” Lohmann said. The company’s interactive yahrzeit memorial boards allow congregants to search for their loved ones and are fully customizable.