For my non-Jewish friends, this is kind of the Jewish version of Friday the 13th, the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple, the Inquisition expelling the Jews from Spain, etc.
Some years, I connect with it more than others. But every year, I can’t help but remember the Tisha B’Av when I sat with Mom on the Tayelet, reading Eicha while looking over the Old City, bracing ourselves to fly home for my grandmother’s funeral in the morning. Struggling, at eleven, to understand and respond to all the different layers of grief and connection in that moment.
And one of the things I like best about the holiday, aside from that annual, emotive reading of Eicha, is the story of Kamsa and Bar Kamsa, the idea that what brings about destruction is the senseless hatred that we need to eliminate from our own hearts as well as from the world at large, that hurting a friend or embarrassing a neighbor can cause as much damage in the long term as remaining silent about the torture of prisoners. It’s an opportunity to rethink some of the ways I interact with the world.