Hello everyone! I’m Aviva Reichman from Silver Spring, Maryland! As I’m sure you all know, last night and today was Tisha B’av. Personally, the mourning of Tisha B’av has always been a distant pain. But this year, that has changed. We began the fast with a Seudat Hamafseket,, during which we were told to sit alone and put ourselves in the right state of mind. After the symbolic meal, we went to the Beit Midrash to hear from our madricha, Miriam Borenstien. She spoke passionately about how dearly she hoped this would be Am Yisrael’s last Tisha B’av in mourning- the perfect words to precede Rabbi Felberman’s reading of Megilat Eicha. We proceeded downstairs to our first program of the night. An NCSY alumnus, Nicole Grubner, took on the role of a “Jewish History Museum Tour Guide”, and showed us a few videos about all of the hardships of our nation’s past. Following the videos, she revealed to us that she, a young woman in the year 2070 was the last standing Jew. As many of her ancestors began to loosen up on their observance of Mitzvot, their continuation of the Jewish legacy and tradition withered away. Her solitude was the result of the lack of devotion of the Jews before her. This was a true eye-opener. After this program, she told us about her personal NCSY story. From her years of disregarding Judaism, to her present observance, she has always kept NCSY dear to her heart. We then went to our next program. This consisted of a room full of tables with art supplies and pictures of various terrorist attacks and Jewish persecutions. We used the supplies on the tables to depict the emotions we had felt during a tragic time in our lives.It was interesting to look around and see the variety of pictures drawn by the girls. The last part of the night was a kumzitz. Between songs, girls would stand up and read the biography of one of the 64 fallen soldiers. This was the emotional high of the night, as we all prayed through the language of song. After wake up and davening, we recited some Kinot. Before each one, an advisor would stand in the middle of our circle and inform us about their kinah. Sometimes they would include a personal story, or a reason as to why they chose that specific kinah. This was followed by three hours of free time. This included an optional shiur and Holocaust movie. We then boarded the buses to the Kotel. Although, it was hard not to engage in conversation with all the other programs present, it remained a truly spiritual experience. Seeing the throngs of various types of people at the holy place was already beautiful enough, but when NCSY Kollel started a kumzitz, it brought things to a new level. Strangers joined from all over and showed the potential Am Yisrael has when it joins together. To break our fast, we went along with various other programs to a beautiful restaurant in Jerusalem. We had a delicious meal to put an end to our busy day.
As beautiful as it was to truly feel the loss of the Temple, we truly hope that next year Tisha B’av will be a source of celebration for the rebuilding of the Third Temple 🙂
Thank you for reading!