Three of the big highlights of the summer are the Friday Shabbat beach services, referred to as DEVOTION BY THE OCEAN. This year the dates are July 19, August 16, and August 30. They all take place on the beach behind the Ventnor Library.
Those who want to join our community as well as visitors from the Philly area are welcome to come to the beach at 6 p.m. I participate in all three along with guest cantors and members of the Shirat HaYam band.
Every summer we pause to remember our difficult history when we observe Tisha B’Av. This year it falls on Saturday evening, August 10 after Shabbat, and all day on Sunday, August 11. The service is very moving as we read Aicha Lamentations. For many of us it is an all day fast, much like Yom Kippur. The difference is that Tisha B’Av is a community fast as opposed to individual fast on Yom Kippur. On Yom Kippur we daven together and it appears as a community fast, but we are doing it primarily for ourselves while we support each other in the community. On Tish B’Av we remember as a Jewish people the terrible sacrifices our ancestors had to endure. We do this in the hope that we won’t ever have to go through those kinds of tragedies again. But as we know, that is never a sure thing. We are experiencing another unfortunate rise in hate crimes, anti-Semitism and gun violence. Much of these revived tragedies are directed at us, as Jews. The lesson of Tisha B’Av is to help strengthen our resolve to exist and be proud of who we are.
Enjoy the summer. Participate whenever you can.