Coronavirus Eli Tziyon

Coronavirus Eli Tziyon
This is a kinah (dirge) for Tisha B'Av (9th of Av) that laments the great suffering endured by the world during the Covid-19 pandemic. It follows the structure of Eli Tziyon (Wail, O Zion), a medieval poem that mourns the destruction of the Temple. In that poem, the pain of the destruction is compared to that of a young widow grieving and of a woman in labor.

In this version, Tziyon serves as a stand-in for the suffering of both the Jewish community and the world during the pandemic. The central image here is of a lonely Torah scroll sitting in an ark, unread, which reflects the isolation and sadness many have experienced over these months. The rest of the poem follows the Hebrew acrostic structure of the original with an aspect of the pandemic associated with each letter.

This version is not meant as a final word on Covid. In fact, we'd love for it to be an invitation to write your own verses, and even poems, about the pandemic. We hope this video will be a meaningful contribution to Jewish communities' commemoration of Tisha B'Av on Wednesday night, July 29th through Thursday, July 30th. Contains (electronic) instrumental music.

Written by Daniel Olson and Rabbi Ben Goldberg
Editorial Consulting by Rabbi Jonah Rank
Sung by Daniel Olson
This poem, adapted to depict the impact of the pandemic on the world and the Jewish community within the global space, is marked with pointed prose that is enhanced by images of the pandemic. In six minutes, the poem addresses: distance, emptiness, seperation, unemployment, PPE, service workers, death + loss, loneliness, protests, and more.
Date Created
July 22, 2020
New York
Port Chester
Daniel Olson and Benjamin Goldberg
COVID Safety Protocols
Government Response

This item was submitted on July 24, 2020 by Daniel Olson and Benjamin Goldberg using the form “Contribute Your Materials” on the site “American Jewish Life”:

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