Religious : : Religious Committee Report

On July 18th which equates to the 9th of Av in the Hebrew calendar, we observed Tisha B’Av, the saddest day in the Jewish year. It commemorates the fall of the First (Solomon’s) and the Second Temples in Jerusalem. The First Temple was captured and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.

There are seven Sabbaths and thus seven Haftarot, between Tisha B’Av and Rosh Hashanah. They are collectively referred to as The Haftarot of Consolation and all come from the book of God’s Prophet Isaiah. These Haftarot are positive and meant to comfort the people of Israel and proclaim the restoration of The Temple, Jerusalem and the State of Israel to the People of Zion.

The positivity of these Haftarot is based on historical facts. When the Babylonians captured Israel in 586 BCE they destroyed the Kingdom of Judea and deported a large percentage of the population to the banks of the Euphrates in Babylon, which is in present day Iraq. The exile lasted 47 years until Babylon was captured by Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire. To the Persians, the Babylonian’s idol worship was hateful. Cyrus treated the prisoners of Babylon favorably and he restored the exiles of Judah to their own land and he allowed them to rebuild their Temple.

Jewish religious leaders perceived the battlefield success of Cyrus to be attributed to the irresistible sword of God and cause for comfort. As such, as Rosh Hashanah, a very happy time, approaches, we are encouraged to be uplifted week after week.

We anticipate Temple Judea’s High Holy Day services to include some in-person activities. The exact structure will be defined later this Summer as current healthcare conditions are clarified. This is indeed another reason to be uplifted. Details about Selichot, Saturday night, August 28 to follow as soon as they are available.

Sandy Shapiro & Arnold Miller