The Ninth of Av Reading

(Everyone comes in, sit on floor and light candles in dark, without explanations) In the last century, the author Mark Twain wrote in an article entitled “Concerning the Jews”, the following statement: “If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race.

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The 17th of Tammuz

The 17th of Tammuz is a fast day commemorating the fall of Jerusalem, prior to the destruction of the Holy Temple. This also marks the beginning of a 3 – week period of mourning, leading to Tisha B’Av. The 17th of Tammuz is the first of the

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The Spanish Inquisition

by Rabbi Yosef Eisen *    *    * In the middle of the twelfth century, fanatical Almohad Muslims overran Southern Spain, causing a massive Jewish exodus to the Christian North. At first, the Christians proved to be as tolerant to Jews as were the Muslim rulers of the

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The 4 Public Fast Days

I. Introduction: One of the 613 mitzvos is to blow the trumpets when dangers are approaching the people. Why blow? Get the attention of the people to do teshuva and get themselves out of their mess. Rambam says that someone who doesn’t pay attention to these “divine

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Kibbutz Conversation

Tisha B’Av – which falls this year on July 24 – always brings back the personal memory of a conversation between two teen-aged cousins more than thirty years ago. It took place on the outskirts of a non-religious kibbutz in the Galilee, on a hill overlooking a

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Tisha B’Av

If you have ever visited Jerusalem, you have undoubtedly visited the Western Wall. And, if you are like the hundreds of thousands who are drawn there year after year, you have probably wondered just what is this Wall? Why is it so special? And why has it

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Fast Days

There are five days which Chazal enacted as fast days. These fasts are:The Fast of Gedaliah — Tzom Gedaliah (the day after Rosh HaShana)The Ninth of Av — Tisha B’AvThe Fast of Esther — Taanis Esther (the day before Purim)The Seventeenth of Tamuz – Shiva Asar B’TamuzThe

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Tearing for Jerusalem

THE OBLIGATION TO TEAR ONE’S CLOTHINGON SEEING YERUSHALAYIM AND MAKOM HAMIKDASH IN RUINS WHY:      Upon seeing the hills of Yerushalayim and Makom HaMikdash in ruins, Chazal established that one should express his personal mourning over the destruction by tearing one’s clothing similar to that done by a mourner [upon the death of/]for a close relative.  This should be

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