[The First] Tisha b’Av During Coronavirus Season

July 31, 2020 - Chaplaincy

I don’t know what Tisha b’Av is typically like at the senior living facility where I am presently working, but I suspect that this year’s Tisha b’Av was certainly markedly different than any that had preceded it.

In my email to the department heads at the senior living facility at which I work, I mentioned that it was the saddest day on the Jewish calendar and a day in which we are not supposed to be involved in joyous activities. I then made the comment that it’s actually oddly and gloomily easier this year than typical, not only on account of social distancing, but due to our facility not having opened up to small group [and socially-distanced] activities (although the facility was to have opened up already, a surprise Coronavirus case happened at our facility). So, there were no activities at all, which was oddly appropriate for the somberness of the day.

Of course, as programs begin to take place and with social distancing, I’m quite confident that the mood will change amongst the residents, but, for now, it’s been it’s been still quite emotionally gloomy, especially as there had been a resident who recently contracted the virus, so there’s still a great deal of uncertainty moving forward – not only about residents’ physical health, but also their own mental and emotional health going forward.

To make Tisha b’Av even gloomier (on top of the literal gloom, as there was a gray and rainy day (that had broken through the many consecutive sunny days we had been experiencing)), there was even a death of a Holocaust Survivor in the building, which felt sadly appropriate for the day.

In future Tisha b’Avs, there will certainly be much more to deal with, including programming, but, for this year – the first Tisha b’Av in the Coronavirus era – it was gloomily quiet, and that felt uncomfortably appropriate.

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