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August 9, 2017 / conservadox

Back to Tisha’b’Av

I didn’t write about the Nine Days while they were happening, because I was traveling and didn’t have much time to get in a library and blog.  (Blogging from a smartphone is obviously a bit harder).  But I did feel the pain of Tisha’b’Av this year, but in a very odd way.

Rather than being in NYC this year, I was traveling: I had agreed to spend the summer in my home town with my mother, and took a vacation from THAT during the Nine Days.  I spent Tisha’b’Av in the third (and most boring) city I visited.  So I didn’t really experience anything particularly alarming, but was in a rather bland, uninteresting city with a small Jewish community.   At the end of Tisha’b’Av we saw “Gentleman’s Agreement” a 1940s film in which a journalist passes as Jewish to experience anti-Semitism- but his Jewishness had no religious content, and nothing in the movie mentioned any form of religious observance either by the journalist or his Jewish friend.

How is that relevant to Tisha’b’Av?  Because blandness and assimilation are a part of exile too: even though it is of course different from the many horrible places Jews have lived in over the past 2000+ years, it is also quite different from Temple Judaism.  Living in Eretz Yisrael 2000 years ago may have involved a lot of conflict, but more excitement too: all those different schools of Jews arguing with each other, the smell and taste of Temple sacrifices, etc.

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