Mourning in a Jewish State? Rabbi Tzvi Graetz

On the Jewish calendar, we have now entered the period known as the 3 weeks.  The 3 weeks begin with the fast of the 17th of Tammuz, which marks the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem and ends with the 9th of Av which marks the destruction of both the 1st and 2nd Temples.

The 9 of Av for thousands of years served as a day for the outpouring of sorrow for the Destruction of the Temples and for the many tragedies that have befallen our people throughout history including the Expulsion from Spain in 1492 and the beginning of the First Crusade in 1096 which would ultimately take the lives of 1.2 million Jews.

As Jews around the world mourn together, it is impossible to ignore the differences from 2000 years ago to now.  Once the Jews were pushed out of Jerusalem by the Romans, there was no longer a sovereign Jewish state until 1948.  For over 1800 years the Jews had to begin lives elsewhere, starting with the destruction of the 1st Temple and the exile to Babylonia, the establishment of communities in France and Germany during Rashi’s time, the great emigration from Russia to America in the 1880s and finally the dispersion and searches for a home by the survivors of the Holocaust to communities all over the world.

The world now, with all of the connectivity and technology is a much smaller place than it used to be.  Jews can join together via the internet to celebrate each other’s simchas, comfort a mourner and see a brand new grandchild.  However, communities are still made up of individual people who are working toward a common good and a common goal.  Masorti kehillot around the globe work to pass on our tradition Mi’dor l’dor – generation to generation.

And we at Masorti Olami help to support those efforts.  It is the job of Masorti Olami to help in building, renewing and strengthening Jewish life in places such as Budapest, Kiev, Santiago and Johannesburg.    In this newsletter you can read about the important work being done in Europe and in Latin America with our upcoming  Atid mission in Argentina.  Atid, which means future in Hebrew is where we must keep our focus.  We take this one day a year to mourn past national tragedies but we must always remember that our investment in the future – through programs for adults, young adults and youth, through Israel engagement education, through leadership training seminars, Israel advocacy and youth – is a continuation of the ideals of the Jewish  people that have allowed us to survive and thrive through both disaster and joy.