Last year, it was hard to get into the mood for Tisha B'Av. It fell during the only week of the summer that all three of my kids were home in Pittsburgh and we had a little staycation: Segway tour around our town, visit to Picklesburgh, canoeing in Lake Moraine State Park, and, on the afternoon of Tisha B'Av, driving up to Chautauqua, New York, for two days. That evening, I chanted from the first chapter of the book of Lamentations—whose Hebrew name, Eicha, means literally "how," as in "how is this possible"—at Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill.
This year, no one will be using the Tree of Life building, not even for the High Holidays. Instead they will be meeting at Calvary Church and we will welcome 5780 at Beth Shalom, where I will also be reading from the first chapter of Eicha again, the rabbi's secretary recently informed me in an email. She is a heroine; on Oct. 27, 2018, she was able to hide herself and others, though one of those she courageously escorted to safety ran out, lacking the understanding that he was running toward a shooter.