Tisha B'Av
Observance at the Elizabeth Detention Center, 2017. COURTESY BNAI KESHET

On Sunday, Aug. 11, 10 a.m., congregations in Montclair will commemorate Tisha B’Av, considered the most tragic day of the Jewish calendar, with an alternative service, and recitation of Lamentations. The service will be held at the Peter Rodino Federal Building, 972 Broad St., Newark (ICE Headquarters).

“Jews know something about the immigrant experience,” says Bnai Keshet senior Rabbi Elliott Tepperman, who in 2017 started holding a commemorative Tisha B’av event at the Elizabeth Detention Center and now counts at least 17 other participating congregations. The day, the ninth day of the month of Av, commemorates the destruction of the Second Temple and Jews’ exile from Israel.

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“We know what it means to be a stranger, an unwelcome resident sometimes tolerated but always in danger of being uprooted and forced to become refugees,” Tepperman continued. “Whether we’re marking Jews’ exile from Eretz Yisrael following the destruction of the Second Temple or mourning our exile from Spain, we use Tisha B’Av to commemorate the nearly generational Jewish tragedy of emigrating to seek a safer home.”

Participating congregations are: Temple Ner Tamid, Bloomfield; Bnai Keshet, Montclair; Congregation Beth El, South Orange; Temple B’nai Abraham, Livingston; Temple Sinai of Bergen County; Temple Emeth, Teaneck; Congregation B’nai Israel, Emerson; Congregation Beth Hatikvah, Summit; Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange. Institutional partners are T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and Reform Jewish Voice of NJ.

This  #JewsAgainst ICE Tisha B’Av action is one of 30 Tisha B’Av: Jews Say #CloseTheCamps events across the country. For more information, call Bnai Keshet at 973-746-4889.