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.

How Can Hope Counter Despair

Talk about despair, yesterday Boston experienced a terrorist attack. Two explosions occurred at the Boston Marathon finish line, killing three people (including a child) and wounding many more, some critically. As a nation, unfortunately, we have seen this before. (This blogger was a few miles up the Marathon route cheering on the late stragglers and never heard the explosions.)

AIPAC sent out the following message today: Sixty-five years ago, the modern state of Israel was born, and brought freedom, hope and opportunity to its citizens. It’s fitting that this year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut follows on the heels of our Patriots’ Day. Instead of sending a traditional greeting, today we thought it best to share what Israeli President Shimon Peres said about the bombings yesterday. His words are personal, and we hope they find meaning and comfort for you as well. “When it comes to events like this, all of us are one family,” he said. “We feel a part of the people who paid such a high price. G-d bless them.”

Jews understand terror. Thousands of missiles still rain down on southern Israel, terrorizing people almost weekly.

The Jewish holiday of Lag Ba’Omer occurs in less than two weeks, Sun., April. 28. Lag Ba’Omer, part way between Pesach and Shavuot, remembers hope in a time of despair. Most American Jews barely notice Lag Ba’Omer and fewer could tell you what it is about. This story, Despair and Hope, was written to explain Lag Ba’Omer to children attending Shabbat services at Temple Reyim, Newton MA., coincidentally located directly on the Marathon route approaching mile 18.

Feel welcome to check out all the stories on JewishFamilyStories.com.

And watch this blog for news about and excerpts from my upcoming novel for Jewish young adults, The Uncertain Art of Hooking Up, as well as more stories from JewishFamilyStories.com. There you also can find my paperback book: Miracles–stories for Jewish children and their families.

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