Two liturgies for Tisha b’Av by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat and Rabbi David Markus

Tisha b’Av is almost upon us — that painful day when we remember the fall of the first Temple in 586 BCE, and the fall of the second Temple in 70 CE. The anniversary, tradition teaches, of all kinds of other atrocities, from Crusades to the Expulsion from Spain to the Chmielnicki massacre in Poland in the 17th century to the expulsion from the Warsaw Ghetto during the last century.

It’s a dark day. It’s also a darkness which contains within it the seeds of light and redemption. Tradition teaches that the messiah will be born on the afternoon of Tisha b’Av — that from the depths of our grief will come the spark of our greatest hopes for transformation and wholeness.

Here are two versions of a Tisha b’Av liturgy — a collaboration between Rabbi Rachel Barenblat and Rabbi David Markus. One was created for use at Temple Beth El of City Island, NY; the other, for use at Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams, MA.

Download For the Sake of Ascent TBE [23 pages, 1.7mb, pdf]

Download For the Sake of Ascent CBI [17 pages, 173k, pdf]

Both versions feature excerpts from Eicha (Lamentations), the prayers of the evening service, and poems by Yehuda Amichai, Toge Sankichi, and Mark Nazimova, among others. Both feature prayers written by Rabbi David and by Rabbi Rachel.

The TBE version has a few songs which aren’t in the CBI version; the CBI version contains a text study which isn’t in the TBE version. The CBI version interweaves Eicha with the evening service, while the TBE version doesn’t. They’re variations on a theme.

We hope that these siddurim will open up some of Tisha b’Av’s power and potential for those who use them.

Photo by Sally Strand; post-processing by Jim Strand.