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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Tisha B'Av 5778

Today is Tisha B'Av. Today I'll be fasting and remembering Jewish tragedies of all kinds from destruction of temple and subsequent exile thousands of years ago to the recent horrors of the Holocaust.

There are some things I really appreciate about this day. I appreciate finding my place in the line of history and knowing my life is a miracle after so many times Jews might have been wiped out. I appreciate honoring individuals who might not be remembered otherwise. I appreciate that we concentrate all of our tragedy into one day instead of spreading it too much throughout the year. Difficult as it is, I appreciate the reminder that hatred exists towards Jews today as well.

I have some questions too, though. When we as a people focus on our victimhood, what does that do to our collective psyche? At times it takes us to the place of healing the world when we are bidden to treat others well because "you were slaves in Egypt." At other times I think we use our history to fuel distrust and anger towards those on the outside of our community because we feel they threaten us. If we think about ourselves as victims, do we neglect the suffering of other groups?

It's a real balancing act, to be united with your family, and yet also to allow ourselves to open and risk vulnerability to those outside the family.

Is this true in all communities? Not just Jewish, but Muslim communities as well? Christian communities? Atheist? What about political communities?

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