Learning the lessons of Tish’ah b’Av


Sadly, it doesn’t take much effort to see the same destructive forces that the ancients condemned in their society–forces of hate and intolerance–all around us today.  In the U.S., we continue to see shameful and intolerable treatment of those seeking to enter this country, as well as hate directed at immigrants already here, with attempts to cut them off from resources or even to deport them for minor infractions from long ago.  In Israel, we have also seen these forces at work this week in the “nation-state” bill passed by the Knesset, which downgraded the status and rights of minorities, particularly Arabs, in Israel.  Also this week in Israel, my friend and colleague Rabbi Dubi Haiyun was arrested in Haifa for the “crime” of officiating at a non-orthodox wedding, leading to many statements of condemnation, including from the Rabbinical Assembly.  These shocking examples prove to us once again how important it is to learn the lessons of Tish’ah b’Av, lessons which apparently have not been learned over the thousands of years of its observance:  that hate and intolerance lead only to destruction, and that the path of love and acceptance of difference is the only way to a positive future for us all.
So this year, please, let’s use Tish’ah b’Av to impress those lessons upon ourselves and those around us.  Come to GJC’s Tish’ah b’Av program on Saturday night at 8:00, focusing on the parallels between the Jewish experience of being exiles seeking refuge and the experience of refugees today.  Join me at a Tish’ah b’Av “Call to Conscience” about the treatment of refugees, organized by Or Hadash, HIAS, and others.  Open your heart and raise your voice.  And may we together turn away from the path of destruction and embark upon the path of re-connection and redemption.