14 Jun 2010


An Orthodox Union tradition continues again this year with 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, to be immediately followed by 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. Rabbi Weil’s will begin at 1:00 p.m. EDT, 10:00 a.m. PDT, 3,000 miles away at Shaarey Zedek Congregation in Valley Village, CA.

Tisha b’Av is observed on Tuesday, July 20 this year.

The OU’s Tisha b’Av 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 responsibilities. The presentations focus on the kinot (elegies), providing a unique interpretation based on religious and secular sources.

Many synagogues screen the webcast for their congregations to watch. “It can be difficult to find quality speakers for Tisha b’Av since many people travel during the summer, so we are filling this need,” declared Rabbi Steven Burg, OU Managing Director. “It’s important that people understand the true tragedy and sadness behind the day and be able to experience it as it should be.”

This will be Rabbi Weinreb’s twenty-second annual Tisha b’Av presentation, which he began as the rabbi of Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Baltimore; this is his ninth year delivering it on the OU websites for a worldwide audience. Using the Kinot Mesorat HaRav, the commentary of the Tisha B’Av service by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik recently published by OU Press and Koren Publishers, the theme of his presentation will center around personal accounts of tragedy in Jewish history (“Ani hagever ra’ah ani – I am the man who has seen the sorrow” from the book of Eicha, Lamentations, 3:1). Topics of focus will include the Spanish expulsion, the pogroms of the mid 17th century, the Hebron massacre in 1929, the Shoah, and recent-day tragedies.

Rabbi Weil too has a tradition of Tisha b’Av presentations, which for the second time will be webcast on www.ou.org and www.ouradio.org. In his discussions, Rabbi Weil will be analyzing and exploring themes of Eliezer Hakalir, one of the earliest and most prolific poets in Jewish history within the Kinot. “Tisha b’Av is a day of reflection, a day in which we specifically mourn what we no longer have as a nation – the Temple, the vibrant centers of Torah in Europe that are now names found in the Valley of Communities at Yad Vashem,” declared Rabbi Weil. “Tisha b’Av is a day from which we must learn and look forward.”

As part of its annual special programming for the three week period from the fast of Tammuz to Tisha b’Av, the OU is also making available to its synagogue network a new, two-part DVD. The DVD set includes shiurim by Rabbi Weil on “Mourning the Loss of the Communities” and Rabbi Weinreb on “Mourning for the Lost Torah.” Also included are presentations by Rabbi Steven Burg, OU Managing Director and Rabbi Aharon Kahn, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. The second disc will also feature a presentation by Rabbi Weinreb and Rabbi Simon Posner, Executive Editor at the OU Press, discussing the new Kinot Mesorat HaRav. Copies of the Kinot, which cost $27.95 each, are available at all Judaica stores and www.OUPress.org.

The OU will send each of its member synagogues the DVD set, to arrive around June 29, the Fast of the 17th of Tammuz, signaling the beginning of the Three Weeks, which leads into the Nine Days preceding Tisha b’Av. For more information and to obtain a copy of the DVDs, contact Yehuda Friedman, Project Coordinator of Department of Synagogue Services, at 212.613.8225 or www.synagogue@ou.org.