Tisha B’Av: An unloved Jewish holiday gets a makeover

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The destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem. Photo courtesy The Yorck Project via Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

The destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem. Photo courtesy The Yorck Project via Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

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(RNS) Tisha B’Av, many rabbis say, can be a hard holiday to sell, with its commemoration of the most depressing events of Jewish history. But many of those same rabbis are trying to revive interest in Tisha B'Av, with new rituals and practices to which modern, nontraditional Jews can better relate.

  • Leo

    As a Christian, it is good for Jews and others to remember the most unfortunate, and today, still unfortunate events that have occurred and do occur. This is especially true when there are imams in Tennessee who curse both Christians and Jews. I wish those “right-wing Jews” could not build the Temple on the mount. We are seeing that even Buddhists are having a difficult time, and that is really saying something.

  • Leo

    Error — I wish those “right-wing Jews” COULD BUILD The Temple on the Mount.

  • David

    How sad that within the same article that decries “baseless hatred of Jews for other Jews” the author marginalizes Jews who pray for the rebuilding of the third temple. I don’t want to rebuild the third temple but I can tell you that a large number of traditional Jews do pray for this and that they are not “radical right wing Jews.” In fact, this idea of rebuilding a third temple is probably considered mainstream Judaism.

  • Bubba Metzia

    I find the portrayal in this article of Jews who want to rebuild the Temple extremely offensive. Referring to people as a “radical group of far-right” for maintaining a belief in the restoration of the Temple (a belief which has been around since long long before Islam even existed) is rude and condescending. Why do you never see articles like this refer to the Muslims who decided to build a mosque on the holiest site in Judaism as being radical and far right?

  • oaklandj

    @David: The idea of circumventing divine action and trying to build a Third Temple in modern times is NOT mainstream Judaism. It is a tiny right-wing fringe minority, goaded by evangelical Christians. So I think the author had it right.

  • oaklandj

    All of that happened a long, long, LONG time ago, and the Temple won’t be restored until the messianic era, which is clearly not in any of our lifetimes.

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  • Phil White

    The Temple was a building, an architectural locale for a legal system of sacrifices for atonement that passed with it. I do not think the modern world would be quick to accept a return to the burnt offerings of animals. Would this also mean a diminished role for the synagogues that have served the Jewish people far longer than the Temple stood? Rebuilding the Temple would also have to mean rebuilding its purpose and use. It seems once again people fixate on the superficial things and ignore the inner meaning of the symbol.

  • pinchas langer

    the position of circumventing the divine and rebuilding the temple is exactly analogous to the resettling of israel by the jews, by human efforts.only the extreme hasidic groups , a tiny percent of orthodox judaism, opposed the zionist enterprise.( though many others had issues with specific matters of agenda.)
    most normative orthodox jews look forward to the rebuiding of the temple, though being totally ignorant of the how.

  • charles hoffman

    Much of the “makeover” sound like a lot of syncretic nonsense; as Jews lament the destruction of the Temple, it is somewhat ludicrous, if not sheer hypocrisy, to join with Muslims who deny the very history of Jewish presence that we mourn.

    We have enough in our religion to be relevant to any generation without borrowing from others or diluting our message

  • Al

    I only wish this article had interviewed and quoted Orthodox Jews who continue to observe the day of mourning as it has been observed for the last 1943 years, since the second temple’s destruction in 70 A.D. and not those who are more worried about vacations and summer breaks.

  • Ash

    By the Moshiach, only a tiny sect called the Nerurei Karta (whom don’t represent Judaism or the sentiments of the vast majority of Haredim) are the ones who make the claim that Jews aren’t supposed to have their own state. In “Mainstream Judiasm” the Moshiach is the one who will rebuild the Temple, not anyone else and I support that notion

  • Lauren Markoe

    Hi – Thanks for your comment. Perhaps I should clarify. When I wrote about the right-wing Jews who want to build the Temple, I meant the small fringe group that is pushing for human beings to build it now. This group is not mainstream Jews — Orthodox or otherwise — who want to see the temple restored in a world to come, but would not think of ascending the Temple Mount to achieve this goal today.

  • Lauren Markoe

    I doubt very much that the Muslims who joined Jews in Brooklyn to break the Tisha B’Av fast are denying this Jewish presence.

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