JewishBoston.com: Sad Days of Summer

Originally published on JewishBoston.com.

Not having grown up going to a Jewish summer camp, I’ll admit to total ignorance of the summer season of the Jewish calendar until much later in life. However, it turns out you don’t have to wait for Rosh Hashanah to participate in Jewish holidays — the summer is loaded with them!

However, you’ll note I didn’t say “celebrate” holidays. Prior to the camping movement, it seems that summer was not so good for the Jews. In fact, Jewish tradition recounts that nearly all the tragedies that ever befell our people, up to and including the destruction of both Jerusalem Temples, happened over the summer. Jews memorialize these great losses on Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, which this year falls on July 20th (beginning, as Jewish days tend to do, on the previous evening).  More on that in a couple of weeks. Watch this space. Continue reading

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