Resource Category: Tisha B'av

On Tisha B’av, we mourn the loss of the first and second Temples that once stood in Jerusalem and pray for the rebuilding of the third. Over the centuries, however, the holiday also has evolved into a day of commemoration of tragedies affecting different Jewish communities at various points in history across the globe. On Tisha B’av, we remember tragedies both communal and individual, and are thus given the opportunity to come together and learn to rebuild one another’s mental health after the devastating effects of those tragedies, and more, exemplifying the mental health middah of kol Yisrael arevim zeh la zeh (all Jews are responsible for each other).

To that end, the Blue Dove Foundation is proud to present articles and resources to help practitioners explore the ways Tisha B’av helps us learn how to build up one another after experiencing great loss as well as about how to practice mourning that is nourishing for the soul and healthy for the mind.

Rabbi Melanie Levav from the Shomer Collective and our partners explore the connections between modern communal tragedies and communal mourning tied to Tisha B’Av. We also are joined by Rabbi Amy Bardack, a Jewish communal leader in Pittsburgh, who helped to support the community in the immediate aftermath of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.
It is true that people aren’t always ready to accept help, even when they desperately need it, but that doesn’t mean we need to wait until they hit rock bottom before accepting or seeking help. We can and should intervene before our friends get to that point. But we need to understand how to do it most effectively and sensitively.
Person helping another person up.
Don’t let your flame go out. Mourning and despair signify your care for something beyond yourself; maybe it is forever lost or temporarily unobtainable, but your yearning is the first step to rebuilding. If the fire remains burning, not all hope is extinguished. There is a nostalgia or vision for better times. The process and hard work come in chasing that renewal, and it all starts with a hope to drive us.
It can be hard to know the best thing to say to someone who is grieving. While there is no perfect response, it can help to be prepared with different questions and phrases to engage with people who are suffering in the most effective and sensitive way possible.
On Tisha B’av, every member of the community should recognize the challenges and experience the pain of someone living with depression on a daily basis. And just like on Tisha B’av — where we come together in community to show our support for one another — we should remember to be there for anyone living with depression all year round.
By Rabbi Sandra Cohen: I still have no desire to resume sacrifices in a rebuilt third Temple. And yet, on Tisha B’Av and the minor fasts, I fast. I mourn. It was genius of the rabbis to create liturgical space in which to be sad. A time to pause and note that the world is imperfect, and I, as an individual, am also lacking. There is no one who does not have loss. 
Death is a natural occurrence, and it is a normal reaction to feel overwhelmed and confused when a loved one dies. This Guide for the Grieving is a resource for: reviewing descriptions of traditional Jewish ritual and mourning practices, navigating practical decisions and understanding the range of physical, mental, behavioral, and emotional responses one may experience following the death of a loved one.