Tish’ah Be’av—a Really Bad Day for the Jewish People

Next time you’re having a bad day think of what happened on the ninth day of Av on the Jewish calendar.

On that day  the  Babylonian Talmud lists no less than five tragedies that occurred on Tisha  B’Av throughout history, noted Wayne Stiles in the Jerusalem Post : Five calamities happened to our ancestors on . . . the 9th of Ab: . . . it was decreed that our ancestors should not enter the Holy Land; on that day the first and second Temples were destroyed, the city of Bethar was taken, and the site (of Jerusalem) was ploughed up (like a field).” (Babylonian Talmud, Book 4).

Since the Babylonian Talmud was written Jewish historians have noted other tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people on (or near) that date. For example, as posted on Original Jewish, in 1290 King Edward I signed the edict compelling his Jewish subjects to leave in England. The expulsion from Spain occurred on the same day in 1492. So did the outbreak of World War I, a prelude to World War II and the savage murder of six million Jews and the near destruction of Jewish culture in Europe. This year Tish’ah Be’av, commemorated as a fast day, falls on July 16.

Simon’s Bad Day is a story I wrote as the lay leader of Temple Reyim’s children’s services and needed to explain this observance in a way children could understand.

You can find more stories for children, teens, and young adults on JewishFamilyStories.com. And please watch this blog for news about and more excerpts from my upcoming novel for Jewish young adults, The Uncertain Art of Hooking Up, as well as more stories like Simon’s Bad Day. Also, feel welcome to check out my paperback book for Jewish children: Miracles–stories for Jewish children and their families. (All the stories are available for online at http://www.jewishfamilystories.com/.)

You also can follow this blog, American Jew, on Twitter, @storyauthor1225.

Jerusalem—Undivided Capital of Israel

Why should the title of this post be controversial?  The Jews have inhabited Jerusalem since before the time of King David. The haftorah I read at my bar mitzvah told the story of King David bringing the Torah to Jerusalem for the first time and dancing nearly naked in the streets with it as the young women cheered him on. His wife, the daughter of King Saul, was none too pleased.

And the centerpiece of Jerusalem is the Kotel, the western wall of the ancient Temple’s foundation. You can visit the Kotel 24×7 through the power of a webcam. The one I prefer is here; this should come up to the live view. If not, just click live view. The webcam is maintained by Aish.com

Encounter at the Kotel is a story I wrote for teens.  It is an excerpt from my upcoming book for teens, The Uncertain Art of Hooking Up.  Feel welcome to circulate the link and please spread the word of this upcoming book and this blog.

In subsequent posts I will tell you more about The Uncertain Art of Hooking Up. It is a love story about a secular Jewish high school basketball player who meets a beautiful strictly Orthodox girl. I wrote this book because I have daughters and grew concerned when I heard among them and their friends terms like hooking up getting freely tossed about.

Please follow my blog, American Jew, that focuses on Jewish continuity through storytelling; Twitter @storyauthor1225