The ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av has come to symbolize a day of tragedy for the Jewish people.
During the year I spent studying in Jerusalem as a rabbinic student, it was impossible to escape the upcoming High Holy Days.
When Winter Storm Jonas hit D.C. in January, we were eagerly looking forward to the balmy, humid temperatures of the D.C. summer. Now, with August already upon us, the summer will sadly be over soon.
I first learned about Tu B’Av during the summer I began rabbinical school in 1996. On a basic level, I understood it to be one of those minor Jewish holidays that did not have a “real name,” but was referred to simply by its calendrical date – the 15th of Av. Clearly a post-biblical holiday.
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As the only Jewish holiday occurring during the summer, the primary place in the North American Reform community where we find Tishah B’Av observed – for the most part – is in our summer camps. Nonetheless, Tishah B’Av can provide an opportunity for all Jews to reflect on serious questions concerning the meaning of the Jewish experience and our relationship with God.
By Cantor Barbara R. Finn