What is Tisha B’Av?
On Tisha B’Av, the Jewish people remember the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem. It is a time of mourning for our exile from our political, spiritual, and ancestral homeland. While the Rabbis provide us with several different rationales for the Temple’s destruction, the most famous reason is Sinat Chinam, “hatred without cause.” The desire to respond to that destruction, to engage in repair, is with an outpouring of an abundance of love. This love is something that makes sense in our camp setting.
For so many of us, camp is special because when we come here we get to explore our best selves. Here we try on new elements of who each of us might be or are becoming. Camp is not just a location, time of the year, or even a group of people. Camp is an educational philosophy. Camp is a way of thinking about how we might self-actualize and, in the process, help our campers do the same. Camp is a home away from home. Camp is a bubble away from all of that stuff out there. For many of us camp is the Shabbat of our year.
This year on Tisha B’Av we pause to recognize that many of us feel this Sinat Chinam. Many more people feel at risk. We find ourselves amidst the unending storm of COVID, political upheaval in Israel, rising racism and anti-Semitism, gun violence, war in Ukraine, and shifting of who makes laws about our bodies at home. People feel unsafe, so what can we do?
We need to make sure that everyone knows that they belong. We mark Tisha B’Av with both sadness about our losses and hope that we can learn from our communal mistakes and respond with care and concern for all of God’s children. While we might not be able to cure a global pandemic, end a war, or even change laws or politics, we can make sure that we are sharing what it means to live in an inclusive community that models an abundance of love without cause.
FJC has aggregated resources (some our own, some created by a variety of other Jewish nonprofits) focused on combating baseless hatred. Some of them preach kindness, some look to Jewish history for lessons for today, and some have actionable next steps on how you can effect change. We encourage you to use these resources to enrich your Tisha B’Av experience.
- Understanding Tisha B’Av Through Empathy an Allyship – Keshet
- Senseless Hatred: Activities and Discussions for Tisha B’Av – Avi Orlow, Foundation for Jewish Camp
- The End of Baseless Hatred: Jewish Unity + Tisha B’Av – Caroline Rothstein and Meir Balofsky, Foundation for Jewish Camp
- Fighting Hate From Home – Anti-Defamation League
- Helping Youth After Community Trauma: Tips for Educators, National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network
- Webinar: Recognizing Grief and Distress in Ourselves and Our Students, The Jewish Education Project
- Violence in Communities, Sesame Street
- Talking to Children about Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers, National Association of School Psychologists
- Responding to Spiritual Questions and Emotional Needs After Tragedies, Union for Reform Judaism (URJ)
- Songs for Healing: Music to Listen to After Tragedy, Union for Reform Judaism (URJ)
Belong, By Noam Katz
We are excited to share a music video, Belong, written by Noam Katz in 2020 in memory of Allie Rae Edelsberg z”l. This song highlights the sentiment that “no matter who you are, where you came from, you are here, you are whole, you belong.” We believe this is a prominent theme at Jewish camp that is always relevant. Please enjoy the video, featuring Noam and many friends of Jewish camp, and then take a look at our conversation starters below.
Where do you feel you belong? How do we make others feel they belong? Here are some conversation starters to dive in a bit deeper:
- What characteristics make you unique and stand out from the crowd?
- Where do you feel most seen and/or heard? What can you do to help others feel the same way?
- Have you ever been made to feel like you didn’t belong somewhere? How did that feel, why has that memory stuck with you, how could it have been avoided, etc.
- What about camp allows you to feel part of a community? How will you re-create this feeling of acceptance at home this summer and beyond?
- Keywords: Tisha B'Av