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Tisha B’Av 5780: The Kinnos: A Zoom Experience with the Rabbis of Dallas The Zoom-Bombing of the Kinnos, the Greatly Successful Reboot, and the Legal Follow-Up

Tisha B’Av 5780: The Kinnos: A Zoom Experience with the Rabbis of Dallas The Zoom-Bombing of the Kinnos, the Greatly Successful Reboot, and the Legal Follow-Up 1

The Kinnos was incredibly successful with Jewish people from all across Dallas joining Thursday morning. Then the unthinkable happened. Hackers penetrated the program, displaying horrible antisemitic epithets and other bigoted slurs.

Rabbi Rackovsky, of Congregation Shaare Tefilla, one of the main organizers of the program, together with Rabbi Feigenbaum of Congregation Ohr HaTorah, immediately stopped the Zoom broadcast. Created a new meeting ID and password, which was distributed by email, and surprisingly, even more people joined after the reboot.

The program was a tremendous Kiddush Hashem and wildly successful by any measurement. We thank Rabbi Yaakov Green and Akiba Academy for hosting the event, and all those who participated and made this such a memorable Kinnos.

Below are some comments relevant to the Kinnos from Rabbis, Rebbetzins and Head of Security for Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas.

Next year in Yerushalayim.

Marcy Katz Fried

One of our wonderful DATA rabbis explaining what happened here today during the Dallas community prayer session – today we observed Tisha bAv – the saddest day on the Jewish calendar. And we were painfully reminded of the harsh reality of hate that still exists against the Jewish people. May we only know peace and light

Avi Honigsfeld

I would like to share with y’all a crazy story that happened to us today…

I was getting ready to speak on the above program…. there were around 120 people from around the DFW area on the zoom a beautiful display of community oneness and I was speaking before kinnah (Elegies) #13…at kinnah 10 some antisemite hacks into the zoom blasting crazy music and screaming heil hitl… and f*** the Jews. You are a bunch of f****** kikes…F*** the Jews…kill them all….it lasted for about a minute… we had to end the meeting and set up a new account.

Our two children Shoshana and Yosef were at the screen watching when it happened and they were pretty freaked out. Had to explain to them about the ugliness of antisemitism and why people hate us. It was a conversation I wasn’t planning on having with them today. But it really made us feel Tisha Baav and what it means to not have Mashiach and the Beit Hamikdash.

On the positive side, it made us feel so proud and special to be part of our amazing community in Richardson Texas. Together with all of our community members we are building a beautiful Jewish community that brings light into sometimes a dark world. We are combating the hatefulness of all the antisemites out there. We will not be intimidated we will keep building Judaism and Torah even bigger and stronger!

Interestingly, when we started the new zoom meeting we had even more people join which was just an encouraging message that this makes us stronger!

Am Yisroel Chai!

R. Ariel Rackovsky

Our communal Kinot session was Zoom bombed by people spewing anti-Semitic and racist epithets. This is a federal hate crime and the matter has been reported to the FBI, where I pray it will be robustly investigated and prosecuted. We will NOT be intimidated.

A Letter from Bill Humphrey, Head of Security for Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas

Good afternoon Rabbis,

As you are aware, the Zoom meeting you participated in this morning was interrupted by hackers, also known as “zoom bombing”.  Due to the content entered from the hackers, I have contacted the FBI, Dallas Police Criminal Intelligence, Dallas Police Fusion Center and the Dallas ADL office.

As of this afternoon, the FBI and the Dallas Police department have been in contact with me to let me know they are investigating this incident.

I would like to say thank you to Rabbi Green as the zoom host of the meeting, for shutting down the meeting once the hackers were observed. This is exactly what should happen when a zoom meeting is interrupted by hackers or unknown persons have entered a zoom meeting.

I would encourage anyone hosting a zoom meeting to make sure a meeting ID and password are required, a “waiting room” is enabled, and all participants are vetted by the host.

The Community Security Initiative is currently conducting virtual “on-line” security training to include “Situational Awareness” which addresses cyber-crime and on-line issues.  If your agency has not connected with CSI for this training, that resource is available to your organization at no cost.

I will provide you with an update to this zoom bombing incident once I have more information from our law enforcement partners.

If you have any questions, feedback or concerns, please feel free to contact me directly at any time.  The Community Security Initiative is for you and your organization 24/7.

Thank you for all you do for our community.

Bill Humphrey
Director of Community Security
Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas
7800 Northaven Rd.
Dallas, TX 75230
214-615-5221 o
214-843-4333 c

Thank you Bill. We really appreciate what you and the Federation are doing to help us and keep us safe.

Rabbi Aryeh Feigenbaum



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