Tisha B’av and Israel

Dear Temple Judea families,

Tonight, August 4th,  begins the Jewish holiday known as Tisha B’av, the 9th of Av. This holiday is more of a commemoration than a celebration. For on this day, we mourn several tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, including: the destruction of the first Temple in Jerusalem in the year 586 BCE, the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem in the year 70 CE and other historical moments of persecution. The commemoration begins at sundown tonight and lasts through sundown tomorrow night. The most common ways to observe this holiday are through fasting, not celebrating and remembering the hardships the Jewish people have endured throughout the ages. Yet, this year there is an additional way to observe this holiday: we need to show our continued support to the Israel of today.

I can’t help but think about the concurrence of this holiday and the current situation in Israel. It seems like yet again this date in time has brought us face to face with an enemy that hopes to end our existence. While this is true about Hamas, as it has been about the Babylonians, the Romans and the Nazis, it is also true that none of them succeeded! Am Yisrael Chai, the people of Israel lives! This is not just a Pollyannaish view of our survival– it is a truth based on some very real facts. We are a people that remember persecution in order to protect ourselves the next time it might occur. We are a people that believe that we, our past history and our future are worth defending and protecting. And finally, we are a people that never gives up hope on peace.

May we all take some time over this next day to show our support for Israel as we commemorate Tisha B’Av.

Rabbi Todd Chizner