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Judaism doesn’t go on a summer vacation | Worship


Last updated 7/8/2015 at Noon

I wouldn’t blame you if you looked at the calendar of Jewish holidays and concluded Judaism goes on vacation every summer.

Between Shavuot, which typically occurs in late May or early June and Rosh HaShanah, which occurs in September, the only holiday on the calendar is Tishah B’Av.

This year Tishah B’Av takes place July 25-26.

Tishah B’Av literally means the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av. The date is significant because traditionally it is believed the destruction of both ancient Temples in Jerusalem occurred on the ninth of Av, although historians dispute that fact.

What is not in dispute is the fact the first Temple was destroyed in 568 B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) by the Babylonians and the second Temple rebuilt on the same site as the first was destroyed in 70 C.E. (Common Era) by the Romans.

Never heard of Tishah B’Av? Don’t feel bad, as many Jews, especially liberal Jews such as those of the Reform movement (Temple Beth Or is associated with Reform Judaism) are unfamiliar with the holiday.

While traditional streams of Judaism have assigned a central religious role to the ancient Temples, such is not the case for liberal Judaism. Therefore, mourning the destruction of the Temple may not be particularly meaningful to liberal Jews.

Over the centuries, additional Jewish tragic events have come to be commemorated on Tishah B’Av as well, including the brutal massacres of the Crusades, the Jewish expulsion from Spain and the Holocaust.

Tishah B’Av is a day of fasting and mourning. The Book of Lamentations is chanted in synagogues and passages from the Bible and the Talmud that deal with the Temples' destruction are read.

But this column isn’t really about Tishah B’Av. It’s about the fact neither Temple Beth Or nor Judaism take a summer vacation.

Sure, things slow down a bit at Temple Beth Or because Religious School isn’t in session and there aren’t any major holidays to observe.

Still, weekly Shabbat services are offered throughout the summer.

And Temple Beth Or’s Social Action Committee continues its pursuit of assisting its members and the community to become informed about social causes so they can take appropriate actions.

Currently, the committee is organizing a series of events about the impact money has on politics, campaign finance reform and what the Citizens United case is really about.

For each event, the overarching question will be, can the United States’ system of representative democracy function as intended despite the affect money has in determining who gets elected?

To start the program off (on a date yet to be determined) Marko Liias, the 21st District state senator and formerly a 21st District state representative and Mukilteo city councilmember, will talk about what Washington’s elected representatives must do to raise funds in support of their campaigns and how much time and effort on fund raising is necessary to get elected and then re-elected.


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