Reform synagogue commemorating Tisha B’Av with service

Congregation Kol Tikvah in Parkland will host what is anticipated to be an enlightening and moving Erev Tisha B’Av service on July 31 at 7:30 p.m.

Tisha B’Av is an annual holy day commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. It has been called “the saddest day in Jewish history” and it also one of general mourning for the numerous catastrophes that have coincidentally befallen Jews on the ninth of Av.

Cantor Malcolm Arnold of Kol Tikvah, a Reform synagogue, will lead this upcoming service. Arnold said the congregation began hosting this Tisha B’Av service eight years ago and that it is something most Reform synagogues don’t observe. As far as the look of the service, he said it won’t be much different than a Friday evening Shabbat service.

“I will be leading the service by myself, both doing the music and readings, but what we’ve done is we’ve incorporated a lot of the traditional ingredients of a Tisha B’Av service. Because it’s not an Orthodox type of service, we don’t observe some of the customs of sitting on the floor or on boxes as if you’re in a house of mourning. We do dim the lights and we do minimize the socializing in that it is a sad holiday, but it is a sad holiday with a message of reconstruction of almost celebrating the fact that despite the numerous tragedies that we’ve faced as a people, we are still here, which is quite unique.”

Arnold said there are several things that people can take away from attending the service.

“I think we need to show respect and empathy for those who have died in honor of Judaism or by just the fact they were born to be Jews and suffered consequences at the hands of history. I think it’s important to remember that.”

Arnold continued, “It’s also a significant holiday on the calendar, whether we believe in all the ambitions of the holiday to rebuild the Temple.

We don’t particularly believe in that, but we do see that it’s worth immersing ourselves in. It is the same way in which we study the Book of Leviticus, which is mostly information dealing with the temple cult. It doesn’t exist anymore but we still study it because it’s part of who we are and part of our history.”

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