Saturday night and Sunday we observe Tisha B’Av, the Ninth of Av where we commemorate the destruction of both the First and Second Temples. This year a number of Conservative shuls have gotten together for this observance and we will be observing together with Shaare Tefila and B’nai Shalom, both in Olney, as well as Shaare Torah and Tikvat Israel.
Tisha B’Av is a fast day and the only 24-hour fast other than Yom Kippur (the “Minor Fast Days” like the Fast of Esther and the 17th of Tammuz are daylight fasts). Since the creation of the State of Israel and the 1967 reunification of Jerusalem, many Conservative Jews no longer fast the entire day and observe the custom of Camp Ramah to fast only through lunch. While this practice has not officially been ratified by the Law Committee, Camp Ramah is run by the Jewish Theological Seminary and it seems to be an accepted practice. One unique aspect of Tisha B’Av is that tallit and tefillin are not worn while davening the morning of Tisha B’Av. But as the mood of the day moves from mourning to hope (which is the precedent for the practice of ending the fast in the afternoon) tallit and tefillin are worn for minchah instead.I f you attend our Zoom minyan on Sunday evening you will notice some of our members wearing tallit and tefillin for minchah and you are invited to do so as well if you own these items.
As always, if I can do anything for you or you need to talk, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-977-0768 rather than through the synagogue office. Although I am working primarily from home, I am happy to meet you at the synagogue by appointment. I have been spending more time in the synagogue recently but if you want to speak with me it’s best to make an appointment rather than assuming I will be there when you stop by. Starting in a couple of weeks I will be having drop-in hours on Thursday afternoon at the shul.
Rabbi Charles L. Arian