The 2017 Women’s League for Conservative Judaism Convention will convene during the “nine days” from Rosh Chodesh Av to the 9th of Av (Tishah b’Av). In Jewish tradition, this is a period of mourning with certain limitations including a prohibition on weddings and other celebrations, live music, and eating meat. To satisfy these prohibitions, we are instituting a few modifications at convention.
In order to serve meat during this time (excluding meals on rosh chodesh when there is no limitation), prior to the Tuesday night meal we will conduct a siyyum (short study session) concluding a year-long course of study by our members on the book of Eikhah (Lamentations) which is read on Tishah b’Av.
To enrich the siyyum experience, Women’s League is providing this curriculum of study modules, which focus not only on the book of Eikhah, also on corollary topics such as loss and healing. We encourage you to incorporate these study materials into your programming.
Since the reestablishment of the Jewish state, some feel that Tishah b’Av and other fasts associated with the destruction of Jerusalem have lost their meaning and should be discontinued. Notwithstanding the change in the political terrain for modern day Israel and Jews throughout the world, we should remember past tragic events, whether to maintain continuity with the past or, as the Rambam explains, as a constant stimulus for repentance and good deeds.
The materials — which will be expanded throughout the year — will include biblical, rabbinic and historical material, poetry, essays, memoirs, and art. Choose whatever topic interests you; adapt the materials and make them your own. You might decide to use some of the topics such as resilience, hope and healing as full blown programs, inviting in your clergy or other professionals as moderators. Some topics might serve as a trigger for your meetings, just short study pieces to engage and enrich.
This year provides us with an outstanding opportunity to reconnect our members with a religious observance that is often regarded as mystifying and distant. By looking at issues pertaining to Tishah b’Av through a contemporary lens, we maintain this observance as one that is both relevant and emotionally enriching.
Enjoy this year of study. If you create any programs of your own on the topic, please share them with the Women’s League Program Department, and we will, in turn, share them with everyone.