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Thursday, August 11, 2011

A very different Tisha b'Av

Michael Eisenberg is a well-known venture capitalist who spent the night of Tisha b'Av in the tent city on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv and the end of the fast at the Kotel (Western Wall) several hours after I was there.
I spent the evening of Tisha B'av with the tent protest on Rothschild Street in Tel Aviv. I brought 3 of my children and 4 of their teenage friends to what was a very different Tisha B'av experience than any of us had before. I read Megillat Eicha on the "floor" and we followed with my good friend Hili Tropper telling over the story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza from the Talmud. An incredible discussion and yearning for unity emerged. See the videos below (in Hebrew). I ended the day by going to the Western Wall (the Kotel for mincha). There too there was unity on display, albeit with a very different group of people than on Rothschild the night before. The singing (video below) in unison was inspiring as well. May this all be a sign of Am Yisrael coming together again as one. Amen.
Those of you who speak Hebrew should definitely click through and watch the videos. The first one is a surprisingly inclusive (okay, didn't see any Haredim in the crowd, but they're definitely in the second video) talk about unity, and gives a very different picture of what's going on in the tent city than we are getting through the 'leadership' that appears in the media. By the way, Michael is the speaker who starts around 3:55 of the first video. The second video is a cross-section of religious Jews sitting and singing at the end of the fast.

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