Many people wonder why Tishah B'Av continues to matter in modernity. This solemn day of fasting commemorates the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and exile from the land of Israel. Why continue to mourn these losses in an age when the Jewish people have regained our homeland and rebuilt Jerusalem? After traveling with American Jewish World Service to the Thai-Burmese border this past winter, however, I have rediscovered in Tisha B’Av an eternal call to remember oppression and to...Read More
Unlike many New Yorkers, I don't ride "the jitney" to the Hamptons, crowd the Long Island Railroad in pursuit of the beach, or head over bridges and through tunnels to lakes, mountains, or "the country." Generally, I'm content to stay in New York City's concrete jungle during the dog days of August.
Although the sidewalks are steamy, there's always room to walk, and, more often than not, my destinations are uncrowded and cool. Within minutes of my arrival, I've cooled off so much that sometimes I even need a sweater. Recently, on two different occasions, I found myself in places...Read More
After weeks of missiles falling on Israel and bombs dropping on Gaza, we land on Tishah B’Av. With the day-to-day images of explosions and tunnels so fresh, I wondered how they might connect to my mid-summer night’s struggle with the somber holiday’s relevance.
Tishah B’Av, this year starting on the evening of Aug. 4, is a day on which we are supposed to mourn for the destruction of the First and Second Temples. I say “supposed to” because each year I become less certain - as I suspect is the case for many...Read More
Monday felt like the longest day of my life. Maybe it was, actually. Monday was two days for the price of one, thanks to 18 hours of travel time. It was also the first time I’ve ever had rockets fired my way, the first time I’ve experienced seeking shelter, and certainly the first time I’ve had a super-high-tech Iron Dome destroy rockets heading my way.
A long day indeed - but Israelis are experiencing these things every day.
I came here on a solidarity mission with the Central Conference of American Rabbis to learn about the everyday amid...Read More
The gathering in 1986 in Dag Hammaarskjold Plaza is still firmly etched in my memory. Hundreds of thousands of people had marched down Fifth Avenue cheering, shouting, singing and weeping on behalf of the Jews of the Soviet Union before rallying in the Plaza where, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the then-recently-released Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky electrified an emotionally charged crowd with his comments and thanks. The buildings in Manhattan on that Sunday afternoon reverberated with the sound of "Hatikvah," Israel's national anthem,...Read More
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