Synagogue was packed tightly – no empty seats and all aisles filed- at least 500 in attendance. It was a big Orthodox synagogue where the head of the OU and head of the CJF attend. This post only reflects the crowded corner in which I sat and the people around me. People seemed to be there to fulfill the formal requirement to hear Eicha, less so to lament.
The synagogue had set out all their kiddie chairs from play groups and nursery and many people brought their own little kiddie chairs. When I last attended Eicha at this synagogue two years ago, there were no kiddie chairs. I am told that they put them out for the first time last year. This second year many people brought their own.
The mood was set by the fall of the stock market and people came in bewailing their investments.
The rabbi of the congregation deserves regard for knowing his congregation. He proclaimed that hurban is tragedy, the holocaust is tragedy, tragedy is death nad massacre, mothers eating their children is tragedy. Downgrading of the US from AAA to AA or a dip in the stock market is not. I thought it was good and appropriate talk by the rabbi. But others near me thought: no! it is a tragedy.
The rabbi said that of course we know that we cannot add or change the liturgy but on Tisha beAv we are lenient. He then recited a kinah for Gilad Shalit before we started.
He also said Ashkenazim need a kinah for the expulsion from Spain. He distributed the kinah from the Isaac Lesser’s Sefardi Kinot dedicated to the expulsion from Spain that will be recited in the day but discussed tonight in a shiur after kinot. I think the origin of this custom was one of the web based kinot from 2005 or 2006.
The Rabbi concluded that special miracle of the Jewish people is that no matter how bad the tragedy or how devastating the destruction they continue to call out and pray to Hashem.
As we waited to start a person across from me- forties, tanned, polo shirt and jeans- kept leaning over to the person to my left and offered the following thoughts in short bobbing outbursts.
Ya, gotta kill him,
Gotta get rid of him.
After today, he needs to be gone.
Obama needs to be killed
Before he runs off to Puerto Rico
I hear he is getting dread locks
And if he gets re-elected it is time to pack our bags because he is socialist and will do whatever he wants.
And you better stay dry and sell everything in the morning.
During Eicha the person to the right of me was on his iphone. He checked his email during the first chapter, his feeds during the second chapter. He put his iphone away for the third chapter, but took it out again for chapters 4 and 5 to recheck his email and feeds.
Many older men left after Eicha before kinot, they said that they are not into kinot and had already filled their requirement.
When kinot started many stood up and remained standing for kinot- it seems they confused kinot with selichot and have forgotten what to do.
Unlike during Eicha, many checked their email during kinot. On the way out, one of those who was on his blackberry throughout kinot said to his friend who started to speak to him: “It is tisha beAV- we should not speak”
Many of the women wore jewelry – expensive necklaces, bracelets and earrings-not usually worn on Tisha beAv. This was even by people who come to synagogue every week and cover their hair. Everyone had non-leather shoes.
Outside on the way to the car, a father, who has been coming to synagogue all his life, asks his two teenage sons- “Did the Rabbi say that all the kinot tonight were all to commemorate the expulsion from Spain?