NEW YORK – The Orthodox Union (OU), the nation’s oldest and largest umbrella organization for the North American Orthodox Jewish community, said that its 20th annual Tisha B’Av program on Sunday, July 18th will not only focus on the traditional themes surrounding the destruction of both temples and other historical tragedies, but this year will also mourn the recent worldwide tragedies that have impacted the Jewish community.
Kinot available live online has been a hallmark of the OU’s Torah programming for over two decades and the OU continues to adjust the Tisha B’Av programming to fit a changing world. This year, the event will feature two live kinot sessions, the first of which will broadcast from the Orthodox Union’s Seymour J. Abrams Jerusalem World Center beginning at 9 a.m. Israel Daylight Time. The second will broadcast live at 9 a.m. Eastern from Congregation Keter Torah in Teaneck, NJ. Both sessions are also open to in-person attendance, free of charge to the public following their current local COVID-19 guidelines for religious gatherings. They can also be viewed live online at www.ou.org/tishabav.
The session broadcasting from Israel will be led by renowned author and lecturer Rabbi Menachem Nissel, who will address “Sowing Seeds with Tears,” and will focus on the kinot that are most applicable to our current perspective.
The session broadcasting from Teaneck will be led by renowned author and lecturer Rabbi Steven Weil, who will focus on “A Covenant that has Transcended the Millenia,” a reflection on the tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people throughout history.
OU Executive Vice President Emeritus Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb’s shiur will be available all day for those in different time zones. Titled “Ever to Remember, Never to Despair,” Rabbi Weinreb will explore the recent tragedies that have befallen the Jewish community internationally— including the collapse in Meron, rocket attacks in Israel, the Surfside condominium collapse and other calamities. The lecture will connect these disasters to the themes of the kinot and discuss grief and mourning from Torah and psychological perspectives. He will conclude with words of inspiration and hope. Rabbi Weinreb’s shiur will also feature ASL translation facilitated by Yachad, the OU’s leading organization for individuals with disabilities in the Orthodox community.
“Our sages tell us that we are directed to spend the day of Tisha B’Av reflecting on the destruction of two Holy Temples, and other communal tragedies which have occurred throughout our time in the exile,” said Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer. “The mourning of Tisha B’Av is communal and doing so together is core to its observance. This Tisha B’Av we look back on the past two millennia as well as the tragedies that have taken place in our community over the last 18 months and hope that we will come together to mourn as a community and remind ourselves of the redemption that we confidently anticipate and pray for.
“Throughout the last year and half, we have looked for ways to support Jewish communities around the country. Our annual Tisha B’Av program is consistently accessed by thousands of individuals, in addition to its serving as the centerpiece of the day’s program in many shuls,” said Managing Director of OU Torah Initiatives Rabbi David Pardo. “Rabbi Weinreb, Rabbi Weil, and Rabbi Nissel’s messages are always profoundly relevant, instructive and inspiring, and their focus on our community’s recent tragedies will undoubtedly help us to emotionally connect with the atmosphere of the holiday and thus benefit us all.”
Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union, (OU), serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry, with over 400 congregations in its synagogue network. As the umbrella organization for American Orthodox Jewry, the OU is at the forefront of advocacy work on both state and federal levels, outreach to Jewish teens and young professionals through NCSY, Israel Free Spirit Birthright, Yachad and OU Press, among many other divisions and programs.