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Orthodox Union’s Annual Tisha B’Av Webcast Features Rabbis Weinreb and Weil

On Tisha B’Av we remember and internalize the sorrows that have befallen the Jewish people from Biblical times to the recent tragedies in Europe and Israel. This year, in commemoration of the Jewish misfortunes throughout history, the Orthodox Union will continue its annual Tisha B’Av webcast tradition at www.ou.org/tishabav with OU Executive Vice President, Emeritus Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb’s shiur from Jerusalem to be followed by OU Senior Managing Director Rabbi Steven Weil’s presentation from the Boca Raton Synagogue in Florida.

Tisha B’Av is observed this year from Motza’ei Shabbat, Saturday evening, July 25, until nightfall on Sunday, July 26.

The webcast programs with Rabbi Weinreb and Rabbi Weil are dedicated by Richard and Debra Parkoff in memory of Richard’s parents Avraham ben Yitzchak Hakohen, a”h and Rochel Bluma bat Yehoshua, a”h. Rabbi Weil’s Tisha B’Av webcast is co-sponsored by the Boca Raton Synagogue, Young Israel of Deerfield Beach and the Anshei Emuna Congregation of Delray Beach, Fla.

The live webcast by Rabbi Weinreb, now in its 27th year, on “Holiness and Heroism in Times of Horror,” will take place live 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Israel time/2 a.m.–6 a.m. EDT from OU Israel headquarters at the OU Seymour J. Abrams Jerusalem World Center. For North American viewers, the recorded video will be available online at 9:30 a.m. EDT. Continuing on the same theme, Rabbi Weil will give his presentation from 9:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. EDT more than 6,000 miles away in Florida. The recorded video will be available online at 4 p.m. EDT.

The OU’s Tisha B’Av webcasts have become a ritual 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, the elegies recited on Tisha B’Av, providing a unique interpretation based on religious and secular sources.

Reflecting on both recent and ancient calamities, Rabbi Weinreb explained: “My focus will be examples of outstanding behavior by groups or individuals in the face of the many catastrophes of Jewish history. I will begin with Biblical figures such as Aharon HaKohen, Ruth, Yirmiyahu, and Talmudic figures such as Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai and Hannah and her seven sons. Other examples of heroism through the ages will be explored and we will conclude with examples from the past year, especially the Har Nof victims, the seven children of the Sassoon family and Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, zt”l.”

Rabbi Weinreb will again be joined by Rabbi Neil Winkler who will be chanting the kinot, while Rabbi Weinreb delivers the commentary. He encourages viewers to use as their prayer book The Koren Mesorat HaRav Kinot: The Complete Tisha B’Av Service, with profound commentary on the elegies by Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik and translation of the Hebrew liturgies by Rabbi Weinreb.

Expounding on the theme, Rabbi Weil said, “‘Holiness and Heroism in Times of Horror’ is inspired by the recent publications of Esther Farbstein regarding the significant documented evidence of how Jews kept their morality, faith, religion and dignity during the most inhumane, barbaric tribulations in human history.”

Additionally, “Rebuilding From the Ashes,” a Tisha B’Av video co-sponsored by the OU and Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future is available on DVD and can also be viewed online.

The program will be presented by Rabbi Dr. Jacob. J. Schacter, University Professor of Jewish Thought and History and YU CJF Senior Scholar; and popular OU Torah lecturer Rabbi Shalom Rosner, spiritual leader of Kehillat Nofei Hashemesh and rebbe at Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim in Beit Shemesh, Israel. Rabbi Dr. Schacter will speak on the Holocaust with a shiur on “From Tragedy to Rebirth: Reflections on Seventy Years After the Shoah.” Looking towards the future of the Jewish community and spiritual life, Rabbi Rosner’s address will be on “What’s Holding Us Back?”

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