It is hard to believe that the month is rapidly coming to a close! So much left to do. We just got back from the reading of Aicha (The Book of Lamentations) to begin the Fast of Tisha B'Av . We went to the Tayelet - the beautiful promenade that overlooks the Old City of Jerusalem. There more than 600 people gathered to begin the saddest day of the Jewish year and sit on the ground and read the Book of Lamentations.
It was a beautiful Service conducted by our friends from Moreshet Avraham the Mesorti (Conservative) Congregation in Talpiyot. But, it is so hard to be sad on Tisha Bav here in Jerusalem. We read the ancient words of Jeremiah who was an eye witness to the destruction of The Temple more than 2500 years ago and they just dont apply any more. Aicha Yashva Badad How the city sits desolate
But the city no longer sits desolate she is alive once again Jerusalem is no longer destroyed it is rebuilt and vibrant and alive!! The contrast between the words we chant and the reality that we see with our eyes is stark and confusing.
As we sat on the floor children were playing in the grass and running and making too much noise behind us. I was about to say something when I realized that the contrast was precisely the point. These children and their laughter were the reality of a Jerusalem that was filled with life not the words we were reading in our books.
It was hard to keep my eyes in the book my gaze kept wandering to the drama that was playing out in front of me it was one that was much more compelling and certainly more uplifting.
Yesterday I took a break from my studies to attend the Hazkara the memorial service at the grave of Michael Levin in the Military Cemetery at Mt. Herzel.
Michael some of you may remember was a young soldier who had made aliyah from Philadelphia and was serving with the Paratroopers in the War in Lebanon last summer when he was tragically killed. Michael was a student of mine at Camp Ramah I remember a few years ago the last time I saw him when we bumped into him in downtown Jerusalem and he told us with great joy and excitement that he was entering the army in a few weeks. He was so excited it was for him a fulfillment of a dream and for him it was clearly the great accomplishment of his life. We gathered at his grave family, friends, Israelis and Americans -- his fellow soldiers and friends.
We said the memorial prayers and closed with the singing of Hatikvah. This is a land of so many contradictions the highs are so high and the lows are so terribly low. I hugged his parents what could I say. There are occasions too deep for words.
If you would like to know more about Michael you can check it out at: http://www.jewlicious.com/?p=2500
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