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Heroes I discovered on Zoom

הכותל, אתמול, בצאת הצום
הכותל, אתמול, בצאת הצום. צילום: הקרן למורשת הכותל

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Yesterday we held a special zoom presentation on the occasion of Tisha B'Av. 8,000 people registered for this open session of the Nifgashot (teenage girls' meetup) and Mitchadshot (women's renewal) workshops. But the most significant aspect of the session was not the presentation itself but the reactions of the participants via chat:

Members of the Sharon family shared their disappointment at missing the brit of their nephew because they cannot leave their home on the Gaza periphery. In just one day, the Cohens decided to move a family wedding from the South to the Jerusalem area. There are thousands like them whose plans and celebrations must be changed or relocated.

Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin, a former Knesset member from the Labor Party, began to fast on Tisha B'Av a number of years ago out of concern for national unity. She wrote that she traveled that morning to Sderot to visit the Biton family whose house had been damaged by a missile. She came to offer help as the head of the Jewish Agency's Fund for the Victims of Terror. Many others, from both inside and outside Israel, wrote about their assistance and mutual support initiatives.

There was also a mikveh attendant from the South who described the devotion she witnessed of fulfilling the mitzva of family purity despite challenging circumstances and strict compliance with the orders of the Home Front. No one counts mikveh attendants among emergency workers but they too are unperturbed by the war waging around them at this time.

In the last hours of Tisha B'Av, there are customary practices that mark an end to our grief and the beginning of consolation: We stop sitting on the floor and start to cook and put the house in order. Many families wrote via chat that they will never forget Tisha B'Av, 5782: Through their windows they hear more and more salvos and the firing of Iron Dome interceptor missiles, even while the smells of cooking are wafting in the air, toward the end of the fast, toward a better reality, b'ezrat HaShem, with God's help.


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