fbpx
Wednesday, March 3, 2021

What Will Tisha B’Av Look Like During a Pandemic?

Print This Article

Kylie Ora Lobell is a writer for the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, The Forward, Tablet Magazine, Aish, and Chabad.org and the author of the first children’s book for the children of Jewish converts, “Jewish Just Like You.”

https://jewishjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/jj_avatar.jpg
Kylie Ora Lobell
Kylie Ora Lobell is a writer for the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, The Forward, Tablet Magazine, Aish, and Chabad.org and the author of the first children’s book for the children of Jewish converts, “Jewish Just Like You.”

Tisha b’Av is the saddest day on the Jewish calendar. While in the past it may have been hard to lean into the spirit of the day, 2020 has made Tisha b’Av more accessible than ever. 

“It doesn’t take much to get into the Tisha b’Av mood of sadness and isolation this year,” said Rabbi Jason Weiner, senior rabbi and director of the Spiritual Care Department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and rabbi at Knesset Israel. “We’ve been in it for months now and it makes us yearn even more for a better day.”

Every Tisha b’Av, husband and wife Sal Litvak and Nina Davidovich Litvak read Lamentations for their online community — Accidental Talmudist — but this year, they said their stream will also be focused on current events.  

“Usually on Tisha b’Av, we are enjoying the summertime, kids are in camp and we have to force ourselves to feel sad about something that happened a long time ago,” Davidovich Litvak said. “This year, everyone is experiencing sadness, loss and fear. We all know what it’s like to miss a way of life we didn’t appreciate when we had it. It will actually be easier to get into the proper mindset for Tisha b’Av, and our mourning will be more authentic and meaningful.”

Yael Friedman, owner of kosher delivery service Kitch’N Giggles, said she normally doesn’t get to go to synagogue on Tisha b’Av because she’s watching her small children. Now, she said she’s looking forward to the opportunity to participate in these services virtually.  

“I think this pandemic has made religion more accessible to so many people, especially those who normally aren’t able to attend services,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to the end of the fast, because it brings so much hope for the future. I think that’s a feeling we all need to cling to this year.”

Registered nurse Boaz Hepner said that when he was commemorating Tisha b’Av at the Kotel last year, he never could have imagined “that one year later I would be listening to it on a Zoom chat for the safety of my family. While I fast, I will be thinking of the vaccines and medical advances that will no doubt allow us to safely be with our communities in person l’shana haba’ah (next year).”

Artist Rae Shagalov, who had COVID-19, said she’s still feeling the lingering effects so she’s concerned about fasting. However, she isn’t sure how much different the day will be “unless, God willing, we’re all dancing with Moshiach,” she said. 

Yoga and doula Yulia Medovoy Edelshtain said she believes that the fasting on Tisha b’Av is critical in light of the current times. “Fasting is so holy and atones, so especially in the state of the world today, connecting to HaShem is needed more than ever.”

While I fast, I will be thinking of the vaccines and medical advances that will no doubt allow us to safely be with our communities in person l’shana haba’ah (next year).” — Boaz Hepner

Rabbi Jason Rosner of Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock said, “In truth, we’re battling to save our society and equitably restructure our entire way of life against a backdrop of outrage fatigue and uncertainty. Emotionally open conversations are what we need in order to find hope. Tisha b’Av gives us a model of how to have such conversations.”

Rabbi Elchanan Shoff of Beis Knesses Los Angeles said that in his eyes, Tisha b’Av is no different this year than any other year. “Tisha b’Av, whether in shul or at home, whether in Jerusalem or Treblinka is more important than anything else,” he said. “The incredible miracle of Jewish return to our historic homeland after 2,000 years is because of Tisha b’Av; because we never forgot. There is a lot more work for us to do on our way to a rebuilt Jerusalem. Forgetting that is forgetting our way. Don’t let this Tisha b’Av slip away. It’s the greatest tool that we have to fix all that remains broken and unfinished in this world.”

Did you enjoy this article?

You'll love our roundtable.

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

Culture

Latest Articles
Latest

Reps. Grace Meng and Ted Lieu Join Anti-Semitism Task Force Leadership

The newcomers replace two Jewish members, also Democrats, in leadership positions.

ICC Announces War Crimes Investigation Into Israel

The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced on March 3 that they are officially launching a war crimes investigation into Israel over the treatment of...

Explosive Conversion Verdict Stirs Sleepy Israeli Election Cycle

Supreme Court recognition of non-Orthodox conversions in Israel puts delicate issue center stage

Special Spicy Tuna Spaghetti

This perfect pantry recipe is a great mid-week dinner and a great way to use up some of your chametz before Passover.

Megillat Esther: A Love Letter in the Book

It is a letter to the generations — a personal call to the one who feels locked in.

Hollywood

Podcasts

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

x