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Three Weeks Leading to Tisha B’av

The sense of loss and sadness that permeates the three weeks leading to Tisha B’av resonates with what we have experienced since our lives were turned upside-down in March. While we have all lost so much in the way of our daily routines, comfort, and for some financial security, we can construct meaning out of these difficult circumstances as well. As we enter the Three Weeks of Mourning for the Temple, let us gather virtually and find meaning together. In the email below, you will find halachic times and instructions as well as learning programs to engage in.

The Three Weeks are bookended by the Shiva Asar BeTamuz and Tisha B’av fasts - for individuals who are at a higher risk of illness due to COVID-19, there are leniencies available in terms of fasting. If your doctor feels like fasting presents a concern to your health, please reach out to me for a conversation around whether and how to adapt the fast for your health needs. 

May Hashem bless us that we don’t need to mourn this year, but if we do, we will continue to experience this season of Jewish life together. I look forward to seeing you soon, whether on a Zoom screen or at a socially distant service,

Rabbi Gershon Albert


PDF file of the laws and practices of the 

Three Weeks Leading to Tisha B’av

Tisha B’av Schedule

Wednesday, July 29th
8:05 PM: Mincha / Maariv Services 

In-person for those who signed up or streamed with Zoom 

8:19 PM: Fast Begins

9:00 PM: Communal Reading of Eicha and Kinnot Zoom 

Thursday, July 30th
7:00 AM: Shacharit Services and Explanatory Kinnot led by Rabbi Albert and young leader Louis Teitelbaum 

In-person for those who signed up or streamed with Zoom 

8:30-10:00 AM: Tisha B’av Explanatory Kinnot and Tisha B’av Class with Professor Shawn Zelig Aster: 

Please note that this is a Bar Ilan Zoom link, not the regular BJC Zoom link.

10:15 AM-1:15 PM: Yeshiva University Tisha B’av Program beginning with a lecture by Rabbi J.J. Schacter:

 Yeshiva University flyer for Tisha B'av

1:15-5:15 PM: Community-Wide Learning with East Bay Jewish Educators from Congregation Beth Israel, Netivot Shalom, Beth El, and Beth Jacob Congregation

1:15-1:20 Introduction & Schedule      
1:20-1:55 Nitzhia Shaked The Virus of Polarization- Sinat Chinam On the destructive nature of extreme conflicts and its relevance to our time Nitzhia Shaked is a biblical scholar and jurist who has been teaching in the Bay Area Jewish community for over 35 years.
2:00-2:30 Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan Resistance / Resilience of the Artists of Terezin Meet artists who told the truth in the darkness through spiritual resistance Peretz is a rabbi and printmaker
2:30-3:05 Rabbi Gershon Albert The Orchard of Suffering Theological Responses to Calamity in Jewish Thought and History Rabbi Gershon Albert is the rabbi of Beth Jacob Congregation of Oakland.
3:05-3:15 Break Break Break Break
3:15-3:45 Maharat Victoria Sutton From The Ashes Loss and Transformation in the Mishnah Maharat Victoria Sutton is the Director of Education & Community Engagement at Congregation Beth Israel
3:45-4:15 Rabbi Chai Levy A time for tearing: textual meditations on K'riah Reflections on rabbinic texts about K'riah, tearing one's garment, to explore the meaning of this expression of mourning. Rabbi Chai Levy is rabbi of Congregation Netivot Shalom
4:15-4:45 Rabbi Yonatan Cohen Broken Tablets & Brokenness On living with brokeness and moving forward through brokenness Rabbi Yonatan Cohen is the rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel
4:45-5:15 Dr. Deena Aranoff Affirming Life in the Sorrow of Tisha B'av we will explore the ways in which the laws of mourning serve to affirm life as well as establish our communal and social relations Deena Aranoff is Faculty Director of the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.
  • 2:30 PM: Rabbi Albert’s class: “The Orchard of Suffering: Theological Responses to Calamity in Jewish Thought and History.”
  • Advanced registration is required for security purposes. Invitation was sent in the email. 
    The Zoom link will be provided after registering.


6:45 PM: Mincha with Torah Reading and Maariv 

  • In-person for those who signed up or streamed Zoom

7:45-9:00 PM: Aleph Beta Class by Rabbi David Fohrman on the topic: “The Power of Rachel’s Tears” followed by a guided communal discussion with Rabbi Albert. Streamed with Zoom

9:03 PM: Fast is over.

While you can find halachic information about Tisha B’av here , there are two important points to make relevant to this year:

*Fasting: If anyone currently has, or is experiencing symptoms of, COVID-19, they should not fast. Those who are in higher-risk brackets and are worried about fasting should contact their medical provider and after discuss with Rabbi Albert.

*Hand sanitizer and washing: One of the prohibitions on Tisha B’av is washing, which includes even washing one’s hands. Everyone should be exercising caution to frequently wash their hands or use hand sanitizer when out of the home. Therefore, Rav Hershel Schachter has ruled that whoever follows these safety precautions in general should also continue to do so on Tisha B’av.

This year, the tragedies of the Ninth of Av resonate deeply, but they need not be experienced alone. I hope you join us as we mark this important day of memory, tears and reflection.


Details of Events:

Tisha B’av Morning

Professor Shawn Zelig Aster  

Bar Ilan University 

8:30 – 10:00 AM

Class Topic: How Did Jeremiah Defend the Jews?

A discussion of key points during the process of the destruction of the First Temple, and how Jeremiah's mission, articulated in chapter 1 of the book, to defend the Jews, is fulfilled at each point. The shiur will illustrate why the Shulkhan Arukh limits our Tish'a B'av learning of Navi (Books of the Prophets) to Jeremiah, as opposed to other prophets. 

Professor Shawn Zelig Aster is a Senior Lecturer at Bar Ilan University, where his research focuses on the intersection of Biblical prophecy and the ancient civilizations that surrounded the Jews of the Bible. He was Rabbi Albert’s (and many many others’) absolute favorite professor in college and grad school when he taught at Yeshiva University before making Aliya, and received his PhD in Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. 

On a personal note, before making Aliya, Professor Aster was also Rabbi Albert’s close mentor at Yeshiva University where he had been voted the most popular university professor! When Rabbi Albert reached out, he volunteered to offer this teaching without charge.

Access the teaching with Bar-Ilan University’s Zoom access:

Yeshiva University / RIETS Tisha B’av Program in Partnership with Beth Jacob Congregation

10:15 AM: Rabbi J.J. Schacter – The Tragedy we Commemorate on Tisha B’Av is Not – Really – the Destruction of the Bet Hamikdash

11:15 AM: Rabbi David Fohrman – Jeremiah’s Dilemma

12:00 PM: Rabbi Meir Goldwicht – Building a Life of Bracha and Simcha in Every Situation

12:45 PM: Mrs. Michal Horowitz – The Road to Redemption: Holding Fast to G-d

To access this program, visit:

Tisha B’Av

Community-Wide Learning

Thursday, July 30 

1:15 PM-5:15 PM 

Classes taught by educators from the East Bay Jewish Community on themes of Tisha B’Av. Torah study, as it brings joy, is limited on Tisha B’Av to topics appropriate for the day of communal mourning.

Please register here:

Zoom link and full schedule will be sent to registrants a day before the event.

Rabbi Albert’s class will be at 2:30 PM on the topic: “The Orchard of Suffering: Theological Responses to Calamity in Jewish Thought and History.”

Tisha B’av Evening Class


Rabbi David Fohrman

8:00 PM- 9:00 PM

Class Topic: The Power of Rachel’s Tears

Towards the end of Tisha B’av, join us as we learn from the innovative approach of Rabbi David Forhman and AlephBeta. This class is being made available to communities across the country and will be followed by a brief discussion with Rabbi Albert.

Mizrachi World Movement 

A Three Weeks Israel Journey

Each day of the three weeks, Mizrachi is partnering with leading Jewish educators to bring meaningful Torah content to the Jewish community. Tune in each day for classes, virtual tours of Israel, and sign up for daily updates at

Mon, January 25 2021 12 Shevat 5781