As the words of Eicha echo in my ears and the tune gets stuck in my head, I think about how next summer we will still be lamenting same historical tragedies. The crusades and the inquisition and the Holocaust and the siege of Jerusalem all still will have happened. But additional tragedies, of children going to bed and waking up and going to bed again still hungry, of brains not being fed by education, and of bodies forced to bear children they do not want or cannot take care of, are still ahead of us.
As a Reform Jew, I have long struggled with the meaning and ritual of Tisha B’Av. I have learned and studied over the years; this week at the Hartman Institute, we wrestled with the notions of and texts on communal mourning. I do not wish to see the Temple rebuilt speedily in my day, and so what do I do with this holiday?
I wanted to write anEating Jewishpost about Tisha b’Av, yet as I started looking through my various cookbooks, I noticed that most of them had no mention of the holiday. It was often missing from the index and even recipes containing ingredients that would usually be included in a dish prepared on Tisha b'Av had no mention of it. I did find mention of Tisha b’Av in Gil Marks' Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, which devotes an entry to it (there’s a reason I’m constantly referring to this book) as well as in his cookbook The World of Jewish Food.
This Tuesday marked Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av. Tisha B’Av is a Jewish fast day marking the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, but over the years, it has come to serve as a symbolic day of mourning for tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people over the course of history.
Tonight marks the start of Tisha b’Av, a day of fasting and mourning for the Jewish community. Traditionally, Tisha b’Av commemorates the destruction of the temples in Jerusalem, but for many Jews, it has a more universal purpose to mourn all kinds of physical and emotional destruction: global warming, pollution, war, illness, starvation, genocide, and violence.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Tisha B'Av." (Viewed on May 2, 2016) <http://jwa.org/topics/tisha-bav>.