Honoring the Anousim on Tisha B'Av

Ideas and Resources for Tisha B'Av Observances

We at Kulanu encourage you to remember the rippling effect of the Inquisition, and the efforts of today's Anousim to return to the Jewish community, on Tisha B'av. Sadly, not all synagogues give a warm welcome to returning Anousim, and your community's Tisha B'av observance would make it clear that your doors and hearts are open.

Below are some ideas to inspire your own Tisha B'av observances. Please write to us with your synagogue's creative service ideas!

Remember the Inquisition on Tisha B'av

At the recommendation of Kulanu board member Rabbi Stephen Leon and Rabbi Juan Mejia, the United Synagogue passed a resolution recommending that their synagogues include this in their Tisha B'av services. Rabbi Leon and Rabbi Mejia prepared a packet of resources to help with Tisha B'av observances to accompany their published resolution. Click here for last year's packet, which includes the original resolution text; the 2011 version will be also soon be available on the Anousim page of the Kulanu web site.

Get Congregants Involved: Darchei Noam

Darchei Noam, a Reconstructionist synagogue in Toronto, has done a Tisha B'av service the past two years focused on the Inquisition. Here is an outline of their service.

Andria Spindel, Kulanu board member who heads the Darchei Noam Diversity Committee, reports that they asked people to do research before Tisha B'Av and bring a story, poem or prayer from an Anousim perspective. For example, their rabbi read from a book of recipes and stories from Iberian conversos, A Drizzle of Honey: The Lives and Recipes of Spain's Secret Jews - see this great review on amazon.com.

In 2010 Darchei Noam added another important dimension. They invited Yaacov Gladstone, a long-time Kulanu activist and field researcher, to talk about the Jews of Belmonte, Portugal. Several members of their diversity committee met with him and mounted many of his personal photos of these converso Jews on a large artboard for display in their service.

Travel and Learn: Guided Anousim Tour of Israel with Rabbi Leon

To really go the distance, visit our Trips page to read about a guided tour of Israel led by Kulanu board member Rabbi Stephen Leon and co-sponsored by Kulanu, which will culminate in the eighth annual B'nai Anousim conference. On this journey you will have the chance to be at the Western Wall on Tisha B'av to to memorialize the tragedy of the Spanish Inquisition and to celebrate the return to Judaism of many Crypto Jews.

Invite an Anousi Speaker: Sonya Loya

Sonya Loya, well-known glass artisan and founder and director of the Bat-Tzyion Hebrew Learning Center in New Mexico, travels the country to share her own story of return, as well as her beautiful Crypto art work, with diverse communities. Sonya suggests handing out information packets on books, films and web-sites related to the theme of the Anousim, and having the group participate in reading the 1492 decree of expulsion of the Jews of Spain. You may even want to invite individuals such as Sonya, who have returned back to Judaism, to speak to your congregation as part of Tisha B'av observance. Click here for more details on inviting Sonya to speak in your community.

Thank you for your efforts to remember the Inquisition and to honor the Anousim. We would love to hear about how you observed Tisha B'av this year.