Greenwood Heights

The Green-Wood Cemetery will host unique Tisha B’Av Lamentations service

July 27, 2017 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Rabbi Dan Ain. Photo courtesy of Because Jewish
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The Green-Wood Cemetery will be host to a new event on Monday — Lament at Green-Wood — to commemorate one of the most solemn days on the Hebrew calendar. Lament at Green-Wood will commemorate The Ninth of Av (Tisha b’Av), in partnership with Because Jewish, an organization that curates emotional, intellectual and spiritual explorations of God, faith and Judaism in the modern world.

Tisha b’Av marks the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem and the loss of an ancient and sacred civilization. A stunning and historic site, Green-Wood’s grounds will provide participants with a unique entry into the meaning of this holy day and the sacredness of life.

Tisha B’Av is traditionally a day of fasting and reciting the Book of Lamentations. Lament at Green-Wood will feature traditional and contemporary meditations on mourning, remembrance and hope.

Describing himself as a revivalist, Rabbi Dan Ain of Because Jewish explains that his goal is to “reach out to people through art, music and meaningful conversation and venues that speak to the community. We create vibrant events and experiences for people who want to come together and commune and reimagine and reinterpret what the Jewish holidays mean for us.”

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Ain will lead the service, with music contributions by Jeremiah Lockwood and Shoko Nagai, Yael Shy will lead a meditation and Green-Wood’s Death Educator Amy Cunningham has selected poetry. Green-Wood’s Harry Weil will lead a walk through a portion of the historic grounds where Leonard Bernstein, Charles Ebbets and Jean-Michel Basquiat are buried.

Ain told the Brooklyn Eagle on Thursday that the event will begin at the landmark entrance to the Green-Wood Cemetery on Fifth Avenue and 25th Street at 7 p.m., with the tolling of a bell. The group will then walk up to the cemetery chapel.

The guided meditation will focus on the “concept of walls falling in society and walls falling in our own lives, how to begin to accept those losses and move on.”

Ain said, “I get the sense that a lot of society and culture is in this sense of being stuck. People are looking backwards, people are saying, ‘What if?’ The idea that there is hope on the horizon is a harder concept for people to grasp this year than in recent years. By creating a space to observe this holiday, we are going to acknowledge all the obstacles and try to begin to understand the role that loss has in our lives.”

Ain said that the staff at Green-Wood “opened the doors to us,” and have been immensely helpful in the planning.

This Lamentations service, as well as all Because Jewish services and events, are open to everyone, said Ain. “We have no barriers, so that everyone can experience the beauty.”


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