Dear Friends

  
Tisha B'Av, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, is a day of mourning.  It is on this day that the First Temple and the Second Temple were destroyed.  This destruction left a gaping hole in the hearts of the Jewish people that remains to this day. 

Tisha B'Av marks far more than the loss of magnificence and inspiring ritual that existed during the almost 1,000 years that the temples stood.   It marks the beginning of an exile that lasted for 2,000 years.  It marks the loss of national unity and oneness.

Rabbi Avraham Isaac Kook said, "The Temple was destroyed because of causeless hatred; it can be rebuilt only by causeless love." 

On Tisha B'Av, this Sunday, we will be adding audio to the live video broadcasts from the Kotel.  This will allow you, no matter where you are, to log on and hear the sounds of prayer, the sounds of worshippers chanting Lamentations, the sights and sounds of Jews flocking to the only remnant left to us from the glorious Temple.

Perhaps this year on Tisha B'Av, especially this year, we will be inspired to do away with causeless hatred and to increase our acts of loving kindness for one another.

Only by taking the difficult step to being tolerant, forgiving, and caring can we bring about the redemption and spend next Tisha B'Av celebrating in a rebuilt Jerusalem.

 



Why did the Jews revolt against the Romans?  Who led the rebellion?  Why did they fail?
1,935 years after the fall and destruction of Jerusalem, read the complete description, based on the writings of the Jewish-Roman historian Josephus Flavius, of those days that were so long ago, but which affect us still. Read more...




The Kotel continues to welcome worshippers, dignitaries, and other visitors from Israel and around the world.  Among recent events were the 17th Maccabiah Games ceremony, and the "Magical Evenings in Jerusalem" program.  Dignitaries from around the world came to the Wall to show their respect for the Jewish people's most sacred site.  Read more...



On a cold and dreary night, a shackled prisoner dictated a harsh, cruel prophecy about Jerusalem through the iron bars of his cell. The young man on the other side of the bars transcribed the words onto parchment.  This disturbing, heart-rending book written almost 2600 years ago in Jerusalem is "Eicha", the Book of Lamentations, read every year in synagogues on Tisha B'av. Read more...



There is a custom in Jerusalem every year on the eve of Tisha B'Av to walk around the walls of the Old City saying a prayer next to every gate.  This year, the inspiring walk begins at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night, leaving from the main entrance of Chutzot HaYotzer, across from David's Tower at Jaffa Gate.  When did this beautiful custom originate, and who is the person who renewed it in our times? Read more...



If someone were to walk barefoot into the Western Wall Prayer Plaza today, it would be considered an act of disrespect to the holy site; however, 150 years ago many people would not dare approach the Kotel in any type of footwear. Fascinating drawings from that time period reveal much about a lost custom.
Read more...



Naftali Stern was a wine merchant from Krakow who did wood carving as a hobby.  The beautiful wooden binding of a prayer book that we would like to share with you in this month's newsletter is another example of how Jews from around the world expressed their yearning for Jerusalem in magnificent ways. Read more...




Our sages tell us that the destruction of the Second Temple was brought about due to "sin'at chinam", unfounded hatred.  Watch and listen to a servant, present at the infamous Kamtza and Bar-Kamtza feast, tell stories about unfounded hatred versus loving kindness.  Hear him explain how we can make a difference today.  The broadcast is taken from a videoconference event with Camp Sprout Lake in N.Y. See clip...



In 1988, the government of Israel established the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. The Foundation's objectives are to convey to all segments of the Jewish people the spirit and the heritage of the Western Wall and Jerusalem, to preserve and develop the Western Wall and Tunnels complex, and to develop educational frameworks that link Jews everywhere to our eternal chain of generations.


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