A Day of Fasting

Thanks to a new reader I realized that today is Tisha B’av-“The ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, a day of mourning and fasting recalling the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem and other tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people.” from Living a Jewish Life by Anita Diamant.  Starting at sundown yesterday Jews are supposed to fast, mourn, and refrain from working and other activities, including the reading of the Torah.  The fast is supposed to be a 25 hour fast in which Jews do not eat, drink, and in some cases shower, bathe, or wear leather goods as a sign of respect and mourning. 

Hmmm.  How does this Jew-in-Training get off work at such short notice and ride her bike to work without eating or drinking.  I don’t.  Had I consulted the Jewish calendar hanging on my wall I would’ve taken notice and tried to work something out but I’m a slave to my blackberry which, unfortunately, runs on the Georgian calendar.  I wonder if there’s a app for a Jewish calendar.  Instead, I’ve decided to do a liquid only diet out of respect for the day.

Miriam sent me an interesting article from NPR today http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128636069 regarding the possible conversion law being debated for the validation of American Jews as “real” Jews in Israel in addition one of the rabbis from a temple I’m interested in spoke with me today about their upcoming conversion courses.  So you can see that my head is swirling with Jewishness today.  Or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve only had liquids.  I’m always impressed by Muslims during Ramadan.  I remember in high school being baffled by the Pakistani girls in class who’d study or read during lunch period instead of eating.  I’d always ask them, quite ignorantly, ” But, aren’t you hungry?” because I didn’t, or couldn’t, understand their strong drive for their faith.  Looking at the observation of fasting now I’m in awe.  Could I do that?  I suppose you can always do whatever it is that you put your mind to but the importance of the thing is the why.  My head isn’t fully wrapped around the many injustices of the Jewish people but in terms of the injustices in the world as a whole-there are too many to count.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if other people gave up food, drink, and luxuries for a period of 25 hours for the sake of remembering.  Realising that people go without every day in our country.  Realising the injustice done, and still being done to minority groups in our country and abroad.  Remembering slavery and the results of slavery in the US.  Realising of the inequalities for civil rights for LGBT peoples throughout the world.  If I could have today off I’m not sure how I would honor it.  Next year, we shall see but I’d like to think that I would use the day to do good for others.  If I am to fast for 25 hours perhaps instead I would volunteer at a soup kitchen, or give the money or food I would spend that day to someone in need.  They are thoughts, ideas, possibilities of hope for the future and others.

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