Rothschild campsite observes silence for Tisha Be’av

Signs set up throughout Tel Aviv tent city telling locals there will be no dance parties or performances during evening of fast.

people holding study sessions for tisha b'av 311 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
people holding study sessions for tisha b'av 311
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
There was a noticeably quieter atmosphere along the length of Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard on Monday evening, as Tisha Be’av came in after sunset.
Trance parties and impromptu jazz parties were replaced by a series of lectures and a number of campsites where readings of the Book of Lamentations were held. At busier spots throughout the boulevard, such as the Student Union headquarters and the main kitchen at the corner of Rothschild and Marmorek, signs were posted calling on people to respect the fast, and notifying passersby that there would be no music parties, performances or entertainment scheduled for the night, and called on all residents to “please participate in showing respect for this day.”
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Also at the kitchen on Monday, food service closed early, though cakes and cookies were still available into the night for those who weren’t fasting.
At the boulevard studio of the nascent online radio station “”, founded by the protest movement, two of the station’s workers said they would be having no music during their nightly broadcast on the Ninth of Av.
On Sunday, the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel sent a letter to Mayor Ron Huldai asking that he ensure that no “festivals” take place on the Ninth of Av at the Rothschild tent city, though it appeared that like most aspects of the protest movement, showing respect for the holiday was a grassroots initiative not ordered by anything resembling a leadership.
A few meters away, at a public relations booth for the protest movement, Ori Ben- Dov, 29, said he saw great importance in the commemoration of Tisha Be’av at the Tel Aviv protest camp, even though the majority of campers are secular.
“There’s no better place to study about Tisha Be’av or the Book of Lamentations than here. We lost the First and Second Temples because of a lack of solidarity. We don’t want to lose the Third Temple because of a lack of solidarity,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter if most people here are secular or not. The holiday is for all of us, not just the religious. Besides, even if there was only one religious person here, we wouldn’t want them to feel uncomfortable.”
A tent complex on Rothschild set up weeks earlier by a group of Breslov Hassidim was mostly cleared out on Monday evening, and Yaakov, a Breslover laying on a couch said he believed most of them were in synagogue.
Yaakov also said he feels the holiday resonates stronger at the Rothschild tent city because “we lost the First and Second Temples because of sinat hinam [baseless hatred], because everyone was only worrying about themselves.
And that is what has happened in the country here, because of the government and the way it has made everyone only about themselves. Here [on Rothschild] people are all starting to talk to one another, and it’s ahavat hinam [baseless love]. We’re building the Third Temple here.”