These past few months have been a time of worldwide suffering, specifically due to the impact of COVID-19. Sadly, we now face extraordinary sufferings, traumas and destructions that are personal, communal and global.This disastrous situation of biblical proportions should be met with an appropriate response – inspired by the scroll of laments of the Hebrew Bible – the Book of Lamentations.Tisha Be’av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, is the day when Jews fast and chant this book to mourn a 2,600-year-old destruction. This year, the fast falls on July 29-30.On that day, it will be entirely appropriate to make note of what is going on around us and recite prayers to lament and seek consolation for our present sufferings.This year indeed, we humans, Jews and non-Jews alike, must respond to the circumstances of our day and create for ourselves a new set of lamentations.Though our world of 2020 seems distant from the ancient times and places of Tisha Be’av in the years 586 BCE and 70 CE, when the holy city of Jerusalem and the Israelite Temples therein were destroyed, the underlying human conditions of life have not changed.It will be proper and meaningful this year to make for ourselves a new Tisha Be’av for 2020, by creatively re-purposing our old and established rituals that were instituted after the destruction of 70 CE.Keep in mind that the events of 2020 and of 70 are distant chronologically, but that they are similar in several ways.On the Tisha Be’av of 70, we Jews lamented that invader armies destroyed our holy city Jerusalem, whose very name means “our inheritance of peace and wholeness.”On the Tisha Be’av of 2020, all humans on Earth must lament how the invading virus has disrupted the wholeness of our lives. For each of us the personal Jerusalem of our citadels of peaceful and whole lives have been undermined and derailed in so many ways.On the Tisha Be’av of 70, we Jews lamented that invader armies sacked and burned our sacred Temple, where priests offered regular scheduled daily sacrifices, where they kept the calendar and declared the new moons, where they brought to God the festival offerings in the annual cycles of the years.On the Tisha Be’av of 2020, all humans on Earth must lament how the invading virus has derailed us from our life schedules and routines, at our homes, at work, in our schools and of course, in our holy places.IN THE traditional Jewish Tisha Be’av service, we Jews sat on the floor and we chanted our mournful laments. We fasted for the whole day, to deepen our sense of grief and loss.Our Tisha Be’av laments in the past concluded with the urgent prayerful plea of “Hashivenu” (Lamentations 5:21). “Restore us to Yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old.”You might say it is hard to see the restoration of order and wholeness in our lives while we are still in the turbulent confusing midst of profound disruption and sufferings.Lamentations actually ends on this mournful verse, “But thou hast utterly rejected us; Thou art very wroth against us.” From the immediate midst of suffering it is common to feel utter despair.But in our synagogue recitation of Lamentations, we Jews stubbornly reply to that verse with the repetition of the previous one, “Restore us to Yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old.”Acceptance of our grief and suffering in personal or communal or liturgical ways helps us coalesce our grief, and so it may be therapeutic for the moment.My saintly teacher, Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik, taught us that for many of us, the truest prayer comes out of the cries of cavernous existential grief. So on this premise, this year we ought to be able to feel a truly deep prayer experience.However, my teacher was also known to reassure his students after speaking of the angst of existential sufferings. He would say to us, “We Jews are a resilient people. Yes, we were persecuted repeatedly, and we suffered greatly. But we know how to bounce back!”And he was right, but too narrow in his teaching. It is the case that we humans are a resilient species and we all will rise back up.Yes, the road before us looks steep and uphill. We will have a lot of renewing to do ahead of us.We must be confident that our renewed Jerusalems will be whole and healthy and sound and fit like the old ones were – or perhaps even better.So, yes, let us Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and all others, let us create our own lamentations and prayers for Tisha Be’av for 2020.THIS YEAR’S challenges to our wholeness and health, to our rituals and recreations, to our regularity, plans and projects, to our purity inside the sacred spaces of our homes and communities, loom enormous.In response, we must articulate the specifics of our own personal laments and the outcries of our community. We must articulate the angst of the terrible conditions of our world.Hence, I’ll conclude here with a few preliminary lines of the laments and the prayers that I am formulating for my new Tisha Be’av for 2020.Perhaps, dear fellow sufferers, these lines will inspire your own efforts to lament and seek solace.“Woe and alas.“How tragic it has been to watch the sufferings and deaths broadcast to us daily via our global media from our hospitals – overwhelmed by the tasks of treating the stricken – unprecedented in our lifetimes.“How sad has it been to lose our relatives, our friends and our neighbors, to such awful illness and sufferings, and then to not be able to be at their funerals or houses of mourning.“Woe to us for our exceptional schools are closed or postponed or made virtual, our preschools, elementary, high schools and colleges and our seminaries.“Alas we must forgo so many aspects of our prayerful houses of worship, our joyful rites of passage, births and weddings, and even our simple family gatherings.“Woe to us our magnificent restaurants are closed, and our glittering shops are shuttered.“Alas our ambitious travel plans to visit the meaningful, the exotic and the beautiful destinations of the world are derailed.“Woe to us our live entertainments and diversions in theaters, and arenas of plays and concerts and sports are canceled. Our health clubs, gyms and pools are closed or limited.“Woe to us as we bid farewell and goodbye for now to the temples of our “normal lives” to the holy peaceful city we so meticulously built in which to live.“Our normalcies are the sacred precincts of our lives – and they have been invaded and interrupted.“This year’s challenges to our wholeness, to our rituals, to our regularity, to our purity inside our own sacred spaces of homes and communities – are enormous.“Our laments end with our resilient hopeful prayer.“Hashivenu. Let us reach way down and find the confidence we need to survive today and restore tomorrow. We pray. Hashivenu. Help us O Lord to restore our wholeness.”The writer has served as distinguished professor of Jewish studies, religious studies, Talmud, Jewish law codes and Jewish liturgy at major US research universities and seminaries. He received a PhD from Brown University and rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University. He has published numerous scholarly and popular articles and books about Judaism and Jewish life.