For children, traditions and rituals are significant; they provide predictability, support, and familiarity, while bringing families together and creating unity and a sense of belonging.
Although my 13th birthday was in August of 1974, I became bat mitzvah in June of that year because my parents didn’t want me to worry about studying while at Camp Ramah in the Poconos over the summer.
Let’s start with a little historical context.
Aside from a date, what can these two events possibly have in common? Strange as it may seem, there are a few points of comparison.
If on Yom Kippur we rehearse our own death, then on Tishah B’Av (observed last month), we begin the annual process of preparing for death. The seven-week period from Tishah B’Av to Rosh HaShanah provides an opportunity to cultivate our souls, to reestablish our relationship with God, and to reconcile with ourselves and others. We transform the potentially passive experience of judgment into an active process of self-awareness, acceptance, engagement, and transformation.