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Today is Tisha B’Av (postponed), and I’m Fasting

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Jerus-n4iToday is the 10th day of the Hebrew month Av, and it’s, like Yom Kippur, a fast day for Jews. (Tisha B’Av is actually the 9th, but since fasting is prohibited on the Shabbat, with the exception of Yom Kippur, the fast is postponed by a day.) Unlike Yom Kippur, however, Tisha B’Av is rarely observed or recognized by secular Jews. Tisha B’Av marks the destruction of bothe the first and second Temple, and it’s, in a way, a national day of mourning for all of Israel–whether in Eretz Israel or in exile.

Yet some progressive branches of Judaism all together discard this day of mourning as something that has lost its meaning with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, and especially since the return of the Old City of Jerusalem to Israel in 1967. Other branches of Judaism continue to observe this day till the Temple is once again rebuilt and the Moshiach comes. They keep fasting every year. Some of my Reform Jewish friends chose to fast this year as conflict regarding the Temple Mount is getting more and more violent. Some Orthodox and Conservative leaders remind us that today’s mourning is just as much for the flaw in today’s Israel that prevents the coming of the messiah and the building of the Third Temple as it is for the loss of the first two.

I chose to fast this year (for the first time on this day) because I have been feeling more disconnected from Judaism these days. I find myself ignoring my usual routine in tradition. I even considered getting a larger, visible tattoo–but I am almost sure I’ll never get one, because it would remove me too far from all that I find valuable in Judaism. So in an attempt to reconnect with my heritage and my long lost faith. Who knows, maybe one day, I’ll succeed. In the mean time, I fast today, I pray today, and hope for a messiah, who will help us to peace–extending that peace to our cousins in the Abrahamic religions as well.

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