The Month of Av

Tisha B'Av and Tu B'Av

I Turned 50 … and Found My Voice
It’s like a voice inside me said, “This is your time! Go for it!”
Colorblindness and the Tragedy of Tisha B’Av
Perhaps we were not just mourning the actual physical destruction of both Temples, but also our inability to imagine the world before this tragedy.
The Power of Love and Connection
Meditations for the Month of Av
We find ourselves faced with this intense duality in a single month: the happiest day and the saddest day within a week of each other.
7 Lovely Activities You Can Do to Commemorate Tu B’Av
Since one of the focuses of Tu B’Av is marriage, think of someone who isn’t yet married. You can get together with a few people and brainstorm possible matches, shidduchim.
My Most Unforgettable Performance in a Dark, Hot Barn
I had a splitting headache, was hot and totally discouraged. All those hours spent preparing for this afternoon, renting a car, four hours of driving—all to perform in a hot, dark hall to an invisible, probably sleeping, audience.
Singing on Foreign Soil
Exile is not just a physical displacement from our land; it is a spiritual displacement.
Dear G-d, Bring Us Home!
Mi Keamcha Yisroel, “Who is like your People, the Nation of Israel!”
What the Spies Taught Us About Education
I wanted to change him. I started to argue with him, and then there came this inner voice that said, “Elana, just accept him. Just love him.”
Watching a Child’s Chemotherapy Treatments
She has lost all her lovely locks of hair, and she has become terribly weak.
The Contrasting Month of Av: From Lamentations to Opportunity
Even in exile we have the ability to reveal the light that’s hidden within the darkness.
When My Child Began Hitting . . .
We have a Father, and He loves us and adores us. He wants to give to us and shower us with blessing and goodness. But He does ask for something in return, and it’s for our own benefit: to be kind and respect one another.
To Build an Everlasting Edifice . . . Why Wish This to Couples?
As I was about to bless the couple, only two days before the beginning of this period of mourning, I couldn’t help but wonder … even the Holy Temple was not eternal! If even that building was destroyed, maybe it’s time to consider another blessing?
The Fog of Exile
I’m ashamed to say this: Today, I saw a man on the street, black and elderly, splayed on his back, his cane awkwardly wedged behind his knee, eyes half-open, not moving a muscle, and I just kept walking.
A Treasure Box of Creativity
Some have it more, some have it less, but everyone has this unique gift—a treasure box of creativity that converts the “I can’t” into something beautiful.
When Things Don't Work Out, No Matter How Hard You Try
We feel stuck and frustrated. Why isn’t G‑d answering us?
Celebrating Destruction
Despite the obvious rawness of the environment, I could not help but think about the potential this apartment had.
Bringing Light into Darkness and Darkness into Light
In life we have challenges, and these challenges bring you either closer or further apart.
Out of Sync
From Passover to Tisha B’Av
For a large part of my life, I have felt out of sync with my surroundings. On one hand, I guess the sense of disconnect pushed me to go deeper within, but on the other hand it created obvious dissonance. I even felt it when I discovered the magic of the Jewish holidays . . .
A Lover’s Plea
Tu B’Av, a day of rejoicing, a day of love, a day on which evil decrees were lifted and miraculous events occurred, is preceded six days earlier by Tisha B’Av, the saddest day of the year, on which the First and Second Temples were destroyed, among other calamities. This interval of time is so short that one could view these events as being interconnected . . .
A Love Story
A Tisha B’Av Insight
Does my generation, witnessing skyrocketing divorce rates and illicit affairs plastered across the media, even believe that true love is possible? Do we realize what we are missing?
The Temple Within
I believe. I have to believe. If I don’t believe, I am left with nothing. I believe, because how can I not?
Mommy, Why Aren't You Eating Today?
The questions roll forth from my little one’s lips. Questions. And I need to supply the answers.
Breaking Walls
The Three Weeks
The Kabbalah of the Three Weeks: a buried seed of goodness, a 21-day almond wood, walls that protect and walls that imprison, the pregnant Tet, and a cosmic birth that puts history to rights.
Flames By Day
My personal mourning mingles with the mourning of centuries, with the loss of our Temple, a physical house in which to receive the presence of G‑d. Grief layers upon grief...
Tanks 'n Tractors
I think of the caterpillars we watched as children, seeing them lift-and-crunch from tail to fore as they jerk across a leaf. And I wonder if, standing beside the white or yellow line painted along the tar of Jaffa Street, onlookers felt they'd missed a step as the tractor crunched and swung for death...
Mourning What is Missing
Understanding Tisha B'av
Why do the Jewish people continue to mourn and weep year after year? Isn't there such a thing as live and let go? Be happy with the moment and forget the past?
The Dancing Maidens of Jerusalem
The Holiday of Tu B'av
There were no greater festivals for Israel than the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur. On these days the daughters of Jerusalem would go out... and dance in the vineyards. And what would they say? "Young man, raise your eyes and see which you select for you..."
The Circle and the Line
Celebrating 15 Av
Two of the most basic of shapes, yet two extremely deep and complex ideas. Feminine and masculine. The circle and the line . . .
Celebrating My Bat Mitzvah at 54
A 15 Av Birthday and the Power of Renewal
My Hebrew birth date is the 15th of Av, Tu b'Av-- a joyous occasion representing the ending of many poignant events in our history, and therefore representative of many new beginnings. To me this is indeed auspicious as there is a certain thread linking all of these events together...
Visiting the Past, Looking to the Future
Our Visit to Normandie
I didn't realize the number of soldiers who died here, nor did I comprehend how young they were. I found myself having trouble breathing a lot of the time...
Rebuilding After the Holocaust
My mother’s behavior was not unique. To be a child of a survivor means being hyper-vigilant, as though this act of vigilance could keep the wolves from their prey . . .
Recipes for the Nine Days
Fish, dairy, vegetarian and vegan recipes for the Nine Days, when we abstain from eating meat and chicken.
Allergy-Free Recipes for the Nine Days
When the Nine Days come, the parent of a food-allergic child tends to get even more creative than usual . . .
Tips for an Easier Fast
Although the Jewish year is filled with wonderful holidays in abundance several times a year—six, to be precise—we fast. Some people find fasting quite arduous, so there are some pointers that can help ease the fast-related hunger pangs.
When Will the Crying Stop?
“Can’t you get along? You guys are always fighting!”
Make It Real
Shabbat Chazon
The vision which we see on Shabbat Chazon is to inspire a change so fundamental that we will turn that vision of the Third Temple into actual physical reality . . .
What Black, Yellow and Days of Mourning Have in Common
Jewish history is anything but tragic. It is a tale of hope, faith and optimism, of strength, morality and light triumphing despite the harshest circumstances.
Between the Narrow Straits
The other night it hit me—there is a difference between pain and anguish.
The Long Wait
Don’t we all know what it’s like to be waiting for something?
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