Jewish Facts of Life
This month’s Jewish holiday was on August 3. It is Tishah B’Av, or the Ninth of Av” (Av is one of the months on the Jewish calendar).
The Union for Reform Judaism describes it this way: “Tishah B’Av, which means the ‘Ninth of Av,’ refers to a traditional day of mourning the destruction of both ancient Temples in Jerusalem. In contrast to Orthodoxy, Reform Judaism has never assigned a central religious role to the ancient Temple. Therefore, mourning the destruction of the Temple in such an elaborate fashion did not seem meaningful. More recently, in Reform Judaism Tishah B’Av has been transformed into a day to remember many Jewish tragedies that have occurred throughout history.” (From the The Union for Reform Judaism website.)
This small blurb shows an interesting fact to those unfamiliar with Reform Judaism, and that is that followers of this branch have “never assigned a central religious role to the ancient Temple.” A large segment of the American Jewish population is Reform. That is why, if you ask your Jewish friend, “How do you believe that your sins are atoned for now that there is no Temple or Temple sacrifice,” he or she may look at you as though you are speaking a different language. However, most Jewish people, whether Reform or not, do think about issues of sin and salvation when the High Holidays come around. This year, that will be late September for Rosh Hashanah (the Feast of Trumpets) and early October for Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement.) More on those to come…”