America needs a holiday of self-reflection

Religion News Service | 8/7/2019 | Staff
TaylorShaye (Posted by) Level 3
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The summer of 2019 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the first time that I ever heard of Tisha B’Av.

It happened at the Eisner Camp, which I wrote about last week.

Tisha - B'Av - Day - Month - Av

Tisha B’Av is the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av. It is this Sunday.

It is a fast day that commemorates the destruction of the first Temple by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, and the second Temple by the Romans in 70 CE.

Day - Coincidence - Thing - History

It is also the day, which, by sheer historical coincidence, almost every other bad thing that happened in Jewish history occurred:

On the ninth of Av, in the year 132 CE, the Romans crushed the Bar Kochba revolt, essentially ending Judean independence.

Ninth - Av - Pope - Urban - II

On the ninth of Av, in 1095, Pope Urban II proclaimed what was to be the first Crusade, which in its first month claimed the lives of ten thousand Jews.

On the ninth of Av, in 1290, King Edward Longshanks signed the Edict of Expulsion, which expelled the Jews from England.

Ninth - Av - Jews - Spain - Homeland

On the ninth of Av, in 1492, the Jews of Spain departed from their homeland, beginning the Sephardic Diaspora.

So, let’s just say that Tisha b’Av is a “Debbie Downer” of a Jewish holiday.

Summer - Camps - Tisha - B'Av - Contributions

And yet, Jewish summer camps revived Tisha B’Av. It was one of the most important contributions that Jewish camping made to the Jewish calendar!

It was a paradox: enforced glumness in the midst of summer joy.

Kids - Today - Temple - Temple - Great

“OK, kids. Today we mourn for the temple. No, not your temple in Great Neck. I mean the Temple. And, while we’re at it, all the other stuff that happened to us.”

Let’s talk about me and Tisha B’Av. As we say in Facebook land: “Relationship: complicated.”

Hand - Jerusalem - Date - Western - Wall

On the one hand: when I am in Jerusalem on that date, I love to go to the Western Wall and hear the chanting of the book of...
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