Lamentations

by Rebecca Einstein Schorr on 05 August 2014 @ 3:09 pm

It’s been so long that I can no longer remember what, if anything, I really knew about Tisha b’Av prior to rabbinical school.

All of that changed during my first year at HUC in Jerusalem.
Just a few weeks into our Israel experience, we were expected to mourn for something that we did not yet understand.
In 1994, Reform Judaism, with its historic rejection of the Temple cult and any desire for the construction of a Third Temple, had not yet fully articulated what Tisha b’Av might mean in a liberal and contemporary context.

But something changed as we sat in the courtyard on King David Street. Surrounded by the Jerusalem stone, in the shadows of the Old City, the words of Lamentations were no longer hidden from us. They were no longer theoretical. As with any kinesthetic learning experience, the text came to life as we mourned the loss of a place and a time that seemed so very palpable in our time and in that place.

And now?

Tisha b’Av makes sense in light of the very fragile cease-fire after nearly a month of fighting. From thousands of miles away, though, Jerusalem seems so distant. Chanting Eicha today — alone — does little to bridge that gap though I know that I am bound to our people through the text itself. And it is in the crevices of the texts and in the rise and fall of the trope that I seek them.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Nina 07 August 2014 @ 12:14 am at 12:14 am

Oh that last line is so perfect.

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