Orthodox Union Gears Up For 3 Weeks (7/9) and Tisha b’Av (7/30)

01 Jul 2009

An Orthodox Union tradition becomes twice as powerful this year when OU Executive Vice President Emeritus Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb’s annual four-hour Tisha b’Av webcast on www.ou.org and www.ouradio.org is immediately followed by new OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Steven Weil’s Tisha b’Av presentation. Rabbi Weinreb’s live webcast will take place at 9:00 a.m. EDT from the Young Israel of Woodmere on Long Island, NY, where he is serving as guest rabbi for the summer, Rabbi Weil’s will begin at 1:00 p.m. EDT, 10:00 a.m. PDT, 3,000 miles away at Congregation Beth Jacob in Beverly Hills, CA where he served as Senior Rabbi for eight years prior to coming to the OU, where he officially assumed his position on July 1.

Tisha b’Av is observed on Thursday, July 30 this year.

In addition, the OU is making available to its synagogue network a new, two-part DVD featuring four rabbis (including Rabbis Weinreb and Weil) and a multimedia presentation. The OU will send each of its member synagogues the DVD, set to arrive around July 9, the Fast of the 17th of Tammuz, signaling the beginning of the Three Weeks, which leads into the Nine Days preceding Tisha b’Av.

The webcast has become a tradition in Jewish communities around the globe, enabling those who are unable to attend synagogue that day because of work or family responsibilities – or those who must leave early – to observe Tisha b’Av with its full significance while attending to other activities. The presentations focus on the kinot (elegies), providing a unique interpretation based on religious and secular sources.

This will be Rabbi Weinreb’s twenty-first annual Tisha b’Av presentation, which he began as the rabbi of Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Baltimore; this is his eighth year delivering it on the OU websites for a worldwide audience. This year, he will speak on “Evil, Our Enemy,” focusing on how evil takes on different forms in different historical circumstances, from Pharaoh to Eichmann. Other historical events touched upon will include the churban (destruction) of the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple); the tragedy of 9/11; and Israeli prisoner of war Gilad Shalit.

Rabbi Weil too has a tradition of Tisha b’Av presentations, which for the first time will be webcast on www.ou.org and www.ouradio.org. This year, he will speak on “The Tragedy that Transcends the Generations.”

Prior to the fast day, OU synagogue congregations will have had a chance to view the two-part DVD, “The Power of Tisha b’Av.” Rabbi Weil declared, “A day like no other, Tisha b’Av has the awesome power to dismay, and the thrilling power to inspire. This year’s OU Tisha b’Av DVD will transport you from dejection to optimism, from trepidation to confidence, as lessons from Torah speak of the suffering of our past and the glory of our future.”

One section features shiurim on Tisha b’Av by Rabbi Weil; Rabbi Weinreb; Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva University and Rebbe, NCSY Kollel; and Rabbi Yaakov Glasser, Regional Director of New Jersey NCSY, whose presentation will be geared towards teens. The second section will feature a multimedia presentation entitled “Achdut” (Unity), in which several OU staff members speak about their personal experiences in Israel and what Jewish unity means to them. The DVD was produced by Eliyahu Rosen of Long Island Jewish Student Union and Yechiel Shaffer of New Jersey NCSY.

Supplementary educational material for rabbis planning their Tisha b’Av services and programs will also be sent to synagogues by the OU. For more information and to obtain a copy of the DVD, contact Laya Pelzner, Assistant Director of Synagogue Services, at 212-613-8165 or www.synagogue@ou.org.