This Sunday starts the observance of Tisha B’av on the 9th day of the month of Av. Tisha B’av commemorates the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE at the hands of Babylonia and also the destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 by Rome.
While some Jews observe Tisha B’av as a day for mourning and fasting, most Reform Jews do not. We no longer envision the rebuilding of the Temple and we do not consider our existence in diaspora as a form of exile. Rather we view our presence throughout the world as both an opportunity for fulfillment and an opportunity to convey our cherished values and visions for the rest of the world. But Tisha B’av does have meaning for us as it reminds us of the brokenness and hurt of the world. You will recall that at every Jewish wedding a glass is broken as a reminder of the destruction of the Temple. Not only do we mourn the past, but we call upon the bride and groom to have their love reach a hurting world and bring comfort, tolerance and hope to a world that knows so much brokenness.
Throughout the ordeals of history, we Jews have clung to the ideals and visions of a united humanity. And while this is surely a trying and perplexing time in the human drama, we retain our hope that we can yet fix the brokenness of our world and bring about a time when all of humanity might have the opportunity to flourish and aspire to the most noble of ideals.