Jewish Community / Judaism

“…as VHS technology became widely available in the mid-1980s, synagogues started screening ‘Tisha be-Av videos’ throughout the afternoon”

…as VHS technology became widely available in the mid-1980s, synagogues started screening “Tisha be-Av videos” throughout the afternoon. These are professionally-produced programs that focus on the Holocaust, the tragic points on Jewish history, and/or the dangers of speaking lashon hara (gossip and slander).

Today, the practice continues both in synagogues and online, and some of these videos even contain a slight musical accompaniment in the background. Though hardly billed as “social events,” these programs have proven popular because they bring the community together and edu-tain them during the long hours of the fast. Notably, the practice does not break along ideological lines, communities from liberal Orthodox to [American] haredi all air programming — although the tone and content may differ substantially. As a friend of mine quipped, haredim, notoriously wary of all forms of entertainment technology, likely get more screen time on Tisha be-Av than any other day of the year!

Chaim Saiman, “How Halakhah Changes: From Nahem to the ‘Tisha be-Av Kumzitz'”, Lehrhaus (31 July 2017) [http://www.thelehrhaus.com/scholarship/2017/7/30/how-halakhah-changes-from-nahem-to-the-tisha-be-av-kumzitz]