Yesterday was Tisha B’Av and we started with a very powerful Eichah reading and kumzitz at Herodim, the site where the final Jews remaining in Eretz Yisroel stood and watched the Churban, unable to help. It was really special because usually I am at home in Teaneck and I don’t feel as connected to what happened. But this year when I was in Israel, I felt the connection to the Jewish people and what we lost as a nation. Only 40 minutes away from the Kotel the holiest place in the world, it really affected me and made me feel part of the Jewish nation. The next morning we had a beautiful shacharit and kinot, made even more meaningful thanks to the English translations from Rabbi Weinberg that really allowed us to understand what we were saying and connect to the words even more. After a short break, we got to hear from a speaker who talked to us about Bnei Yisroel’s transition from the desert to Israel and tied it in to how we can step up and be leaders. Then we had mincha and some down time to nap or watch a movie. I ended up staying for the movie and we watched “Defiance” which was based on a true story about a group of brothers hiding from the Nazis in a forest where they manage to fight back and build a village for other refugees. We had the privilege to spend the rest of Tisha B’Av at the kotel. It was incredible to see the size of the crowd gathered there davening and singing. When the fast was over we all got back to the bus to go to Gush Etzion to break our fast on a delicious dinner. Not only was it one of the best meals I had while I was in Israel it was also a chessed to help support the Jewish community in the gush region. It was really a once in a lifetime experience and one that I won’t ever forget.