Attention JCC Members and Guests: Both the Marcus Gym and Family Gym will be occupied by our JCC Basketball Camp this week August 22 – 26 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Weekly Shabbat Messages

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Judaic message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, August 19, 2016. Click here to read past Shabbat Messages.

Tisha B’Av: Destruction and Rebirth

Last Saturday night and Sunday was Tisha B’Av, the fast day of the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av (actually, it was the tenth of Av – the fast was delayed by one day to avoid a fast on the Sabbath). For many of us, this day isn’t even on our radar, except at Jewish summer camps. This day is a cosmic day in Jewish history. Tradition tells us that both the Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed on this day: the First Temple built by King Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, and the Second Temple built the returnees from the Babylonian Exile was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. However, amazingly enough, there were other tragedies as well on that date: The Jews were expelled from England on that date in 1290 CE and from Spain on that date in 1492, and there were numerous massacres and expulsions by the Nazis during WWII.

The holiday is commemorated by a fast of morning. In synagogues the book of Lamentations is recited publicly:

How has the city sat alone

That was full of people?

How has she become like a widow –

She that was great among the nations

And a princess among the provences?

How has she become captive?

There is a certain irony in marking this summer observance, however. While it undoubtedly commemorates one of the major tragedies in Jewish history – one that is responsible for countless deaths and exile and the end of the independence of the Jewish People in antiquity – it also represents a major turning point in the Jewish religion. Before the destruction of the Temple, the major element of the Jewish religion was a hierarchy of priests and the offering of sacrifices in the Temple in Jerusalem. After the destruction, that avenue of religion was closed. The Rabbis, facing the complete destruction of the old form of Jewish religion, created new forms. The Challah we eat on Shabbat is symbolic of the sacrifices of old, transforming the Sabbath table into a substitute for the altar. Prayer three times a day replaced the thrice daily sacrifices.

Maimonides, the 12century rabbi, physician, and scholar claimed that the sacrifices were a primitive form of religion and were required by God because God realized that the people at the time would not have accepted a religion without animal and vegetable sacrifices. Who knows – were it not for the tragedy of the destruction of the Temple and the rebirth of Judaism as the form of religion that we know today, Judaism and Jewish life might has disappeared along with the Babylonians  and the ancient Roman cults of the gods.

My favorite place in Jerusalem to hear the reading of Lamentations on Tisha B’Av is on the Haas Promenade in the Southern part of Jerusalem. The promenade is a paved walkway that juts out along the hillside to the south of the old city. Numerous groups meet there to read from Lamentations. And from that location, one can see the old walled city of Jerusalem stretched out to the North, and to the West of the old city, the New City of Jerusalem. There it is in one panorama: the rebuilt cities, both the old and the new. It is a sweeping view of history, incorporating almost 3,000 years of history at once.

Shabbat Shalom

 

 

Past Shabbat Messages

Shabbat & Secret Jews - Friday, April 26, 2013

Out of the Land of Heaven - Friday, May 3, 2013

Almost Shavuot - Friday, May 10, 2013

Cakes on Shabbat - Friday, May 17, 2013

Dressing Up for Shabbat (Part I) - Friday, May 24, 2013

Dressing Up for Shabbat (Part II) - Friday, May 31, 2013

Solomon's Temple and the Shabbat - Friday, June 7, 2013

Shabbat Starts When? - Friday, June 14, 2013 & June 13, 2014

Making Commandments Beautiful: Part I - Friday, June 21, 2013

Making Commandments Beautiful: Part 2 - Friday, June 28, 2013

Making Commandments Beautiful: Part 3 - Friday, July 5, 2013

Crypto Jews and the Shabbat - Friday, July 12, 2013

Shabbat Nachamu... The Sabbath of Consolation - Friday, July 19, 2013

Bialik and Kabbalat Shabbat - Friday, July 26, 2013

Angels and Shabbat - Friday, August 2, 2013

Shabbat in the Land of the Midnight Sun - Friday, August 9, 2013

Shabbat in Jerusalem As Told By Jody-  Friday, August 16, 2013

Shabbat in Jerusalem II As Told By Jody - Friday, August 23, 2013

The Streets of Jerusalem - Friday, August 30, 2013

The Final Heat – Closing in on Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat - Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Shabbat and Yom Kippur - Friday, September 13, 2013

Species, Species and More Species - Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Shabbat Breishit - Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Evening & Morning - Friday, October 4, 2013

Singing and the Sabbath - Friday, October 11, 2013 & Friday, May 9, 2014

The Rainy Season - Friday, October 18, 2013

The Triennial Torah Cycle - Friday, October 25, 2013

The Sabbath and the Temple - Friday, November 1, 2013

It Is All In the Timing - Friday, November 8, 2013

Challah - Friday, November 15, 2013

Why is the Challah Braided? - Friday, November 22, 2013

Shabbat, Thanksgivukkah and Beyond - Friday, November 29, 2013

Carrying on Shabbat - Friday, December 6, 2013

Eruv Art - Friday, December 13, 2013

Celebrating the Sabbath in Darkness - Friday, December 20, 2013

Celebrating the Sabbath in Darkness Continued - Friday, December 27, 2013

The First Shabbat of the Year - Friday, January 3, 2014

Shabbat Shirah - Friday, January 10, 2014

Shabbat and Trees - Friday, January 17, 2014

Strangers in our Midst - Friday, January 24, 2014

The Ten Commandments, Part I - Friday, January 31, 2014

The Ten Commandments, Part II - Friday, February 7, 2014

Shabbat, Babylonians, Tacitus, and the Communists - Friday, February 14, 2014

The Shabbat Umbrella - Friday, February 21, 2014

Lighting Shabbat Candles - Friday, February 28, 2014

Philip Roth and Shabbat - Friday, March 7, 2014

Shabbat Zachor - Friday, March 14, 2014

Shabbat in Amsterdam - Friday, March 21, 2014

Ahad Ha’am and the Shabbat - Friday, March 28, 2014

Shabbat at the JCCA Biennial - Friday, April 4, 2014

Shabbat HaGadol – The Great Sabbath - Friday, April 11, 2014

Challah on the Shabbat During Passover? - Friday, April 18, 2014

Shabbat and the Counting of the Omer - Friday, April 25, 2014

Shabbat and the First Yom Ha’Atzmaut - Friday, May 2, 2014

Sabbaths and Sabbaticals - Friday, May 16, 2014

Light and Dark and theShabbat - Friday, May 23, 2014

Learning on Shabbat - Friday, May 30, 2014

The Shabbat After Shavuot - Friday, June 6, 2014

Shabbat in Outer Space - Friday, June 20, 2014

The Longest Friday of the Year - Friday, June 27, 2014

Shabbat and the 4th of July - Friday, July 4, 2014

The Fast of Tammuz - Friday, July 11, 2014

The Three Weeks - Friday, July 18, 2014

Haftarot for the Three Weeks - Friday, July 25, 2014

The Ninth of Av - Friday, August 1, 2014

Sabbath Peace - Friday, August 8, 2014

All You Need is Love - Friday, August 15, 2014

The Secular Shabbat - Friday, August 22, 2014

Labor Day - Friday, August 29, 2014

Elul - Friday, September 5, 2014

Philip Roth and Shabbat - Friday, September 12, 2014

The Last Shabbat of 5774 - Friday, September 19, 2014

Shabbat Shuvah - Friday, September 26, 2014

Shabbat and Yom Kippur - Friday, October 3, 2014

Species, Species and More Species - Friday, October 10, 2014 

Bialik and Kabbalat Shabbat - Friday, October 31, 2014

Akeidat Yitzchak... The Binding of Isaac - Friday, November 7, 2014

Saving the Jewish People - Friday, November 14, 2014

Shabbat and the Artist - Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving - Friday, November 28, 2014

Shabbat and the ‘Cello - Friday, December 5, 2014

Short Friday - Friday, December 12, 2014

The Seven Day Week - Friday, December 19, 2014

Celebrating the Sabbath in Darkness - Friday, December 26, 2014

The First Shabbat of the Year - Friday, January 2, 2015

The Kiddush - Friday, January 9, 2015

Bread - Friday, January 16, 2015

Covering the Challah - Friday, January 23, 2015

Shabbat Shirah - Friday, January 30, 2015

A Kind of World to Come - Friday, February 6, 2015

Orchestras on Shabbat? - Friday, February 20, 2015

Shabbat Zachor - Friday, February 27, 2015

The Word “Shabbat” - Friday, March 6, 2015

Shabbat and Daylight Savings Time - Friday, March 13, 2015

Saturday Not Sunday - Friday, March 20, 2015

The Shabbat of Kings - Friday, March 27, 2015

The Seder/Shabbat Confluence - Friday, April 3, 2015

Shabbat: Passover and Not Passover - Thursday, April 9, 2015

Post Pesach Shabbat - Friday, April 17, 2015

Shabbat in Israel - Friday, April 24, 2015

Two Shabbatot: Israel and America - Friday, May 1, 2015

Tabernacle. Temple. Synagogue - Friday, May 15, 2015

Shabbat and Shavuot - Friday, May 22, 2015 

Weekly Torah Portions - Friday, June 5, 2015

Moses Maimonides and the Torah Portions - Friday, June 12, 2015

Reading the Prophets on Shabbat - Friday, June 19, 2015

The Triennial Cycle - Friday, June 26, 2015

Shabbat and the 4th of July - Friday, July 3, 2015

Shabbat in Outer Space - Friday, July 10, 2015

Nine Days - Friday, July 17, 2015

Tisha B'Av - Friday, July 24, 2015

A Taste of the World to Come - Friday, August 7, 2015

Sabbaths of Consolation - Friday, August 14, 2015

Oliver Sacks and the Sabbath - Friday, August 21, 2015

Slichot - Friday, September 4, 2015

The Last Shabbat of the Year - Friday, September 11, 2015

Shabbat Shuvah – The Shabbat of Return - Friday, September 18, 2015

Gefilte Fish - Friday, September 25, 2015

The Sabbath of Sukkot - Friday, October 2, 2015

Shabbat Breishit - Friday, October 9, 2015

Burying the Etrog - Friday, October 16, 2015

Sabbath Peace - Friday, October 23, 2015

The Life of Sarah - Friday, November 6, 2015

Where do lighting Shabbat candles come from? - Friday, November 13, 2015

The Sabbath and the Pushka - Friday, November 20, 2015

Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, Shabbat Saturday, Cyber Monday, and #GivingTuesday - Friday, November 27, 2015

A Winter Tale, Shabbat Style - Friday, December 4, 2015

Shabbat Hanukkah - Friday, December 11, 2015

Public Reading of the Torah - Friday, December 18, 2015

Shabbat and The Haftarah Readings - Friday, December 25, 2015

New Year - Friday, January 1, 2016

Bar & Bat Mitzvah and the Shabbat - Friday, January 8, 2016

A Shabbat for the Birds - Friday, January 22, 2016

Rabbi Nachman and this Shabbat’s Torah Portion - Friday, January 29, 2016

Shabbat and the Leap Year - Friday, February 12, 2016

Shabbat and the Professional Musician - Friday, February 19, 2016

Shabbat and Danger - Friday, February 26, 2016

Baseball on Shabbat? - Friday, March 11, 2016

Shabbat - What’s for Dinner? - Friday, March 18, 2016

Purim in Walled Cities - Friday, March 25, 2016

A Sabbath of Peace - Friday, April 1, 2016

Poetry, Music, and the Shabbat - Friday, April 8, 2016

Art and the Shabbat - Friday, April 15, 2016

Shabbat and Rabbit Hunting - Friday, April 22, 2016

The Last Day of Passover - Friday, April 29, 2016

Shabbat and the Shoah - Friday, May 6, 2016

Shabbat and the First Yom HaAtzmaut - Friday, May 13, 2016

Three Meals - Friday, May 20, 2016

Cakes on Shabbat - Friday, May 27, 2016

Learning on Shabbat - Friday, June 3, 2016

Shavuot, the Torah, and Shabbat - Friday, June 10, 2016

Shabbat and the Ten Commandments - Friday, June 17 2016

Shabbat in Outer Space - Friday, June 24, 2016

The Fourth of July - Friday, July 1, 2016

Elie Wiesel and the Shabbat - Friday, July 8, 2016

Waiting for Shabbat - Friday, July 15, 2016

Shabbat and the Shuk - Friday, July 22, 2016

Shabbat in Tel Aviv - Friday, July 29, 2016

Israeli Café Society and the Shabbat - Friday, August 5, 2016

More Pre-Shabbat Stuff in Jerusalem - Friday, August 12, 2016

Tisha B’Av: Destruction and Rebirth - Friday, August 19, 2016