Today is a yom ragil with a Tisha B’Av feel. (If you’re confused, check out -www.isitajewishholidaytoday.com)
Tisha b’Av is a holiday where we commemorate the destruction of the two temples. In addition, we turn our thoughts to other instances of Jewish suffering throughout history. Here at Mosh, we try to glean inspiration and feelings of empowerment from this day. We also try to broaden our focus from the Jewish people to world-wide issues.
Last night, everyone gathered at sunset for a tekes (ceremony) to mark the start of the holiday. We proceeded to travel around machaneh (camp) in groups looking at tableau representations of important events, leaders, and tragedies in Jewish history.
The tableaus portrayed all of the following:
- Moses and The 12 Spies
- Destruction of the 1st Temple
- Destruction of the 2nd Temple
- Bar Kochba’s Rebellion
- Destruction of Jerusalem
- Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
- Chalutzim and the Kibbutzim
- Anti Semitism in Europe
As we passed each tableau, we learned about what it depicted, then sat to read and discuss a related poem.
The evening ended with sichot (discussions) by shickva (age-group), so that all the chanichim could participate in age-appropriate conversations. The night took on a solemn but empowering tone as we brought Jewish history to life.
Today has largely followed a regular schedule, though those who are fasting have the option of watching movies during active parts of the day. Furthermore, peulat shickva (age-group activity) focused on subjects related to the holiday. Most shickvot considered the importance of forgiveness in the wake of prejudice and suffering and discussed cycles of violence.
The afternoon also took on a slightly Tisha B’Av feel. We had a round of special chugim on topics such as Jews in the Civil Rights Movement, Dror and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Armenian Genocide, and The Biblical Roots of American Idol. Madrichim and Madatz (counselors and junior counselors) ran activities and discussions on each topic.
Next, we broke off into a second group of chugim to do activities like baking, art, kickball, and BLARPing (bible live action role playing).
As we approach sundown, the day continues as normal with schiya (swimming), zman metsuyan, and chugim. Tonight we will have a particularly hefty aruchat erev (evening meal) so that those who have been fasting can fill their stomachs.