Typically, at some point in my work on this project, my wife will lean over my shoulder and ask me, in her own style, “So. How are the Jews this year?” Some years that is a difficult question to answer. This year the answer is clear: The Jews are afraid.
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.
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.