Congregation Beth El and Oheb Shalom Congregation will commemorate the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av, a mournful day which commemorates the anniversary of a number of disasters in Jewish history, with an evening of spoken word poetry featuring spoken word artist Joseph D. Robbins.  

The program will take place at Beth El, 222 Irvington Avenue, South Orange, on Saturday night, August 13, beginning at 7:30pm. The Congregation Beth El​ and Oheb Shalom Congregation​ communities will join together for a light dinner before the fast of Tisha B’Av begins. The community is also welcome to attend.

Nationally renowned spoken word artist Joseph D. Robbins​ will perform in a spoken word Poetry Café, sharing poetry that reflects the themes of the mournful day, including destruction, loss, Jerusalem, senseless hatred, and injustice. The program will be followed by the traditional reading of Eicha, the Book of Lamentations, at 9:00pm, read by candlelight and led by Rabbi Jesse Olitzky​ and Cantor Erica Lippitz. The following afternoon, Sunday, August 14, the community joins together for Mincha services at Oheb Shalom Congregation, 170 Scotland Road, South Orange.

Joseph D. Robbins is an award-winning poet and author. Known for his unique writing style and his distinctive voice, Robbins is well known in both the New York City poetry slam scene, and also among Jewish audiences, particularly teen youth groups. Robbins draws on personal experience and a background in storytelling, delivering poignant pieces that elicit passionate responses from audiences of all ages.