Behind the Headlines: Archaeological Proof for Jerusalem’s Historical Destructions:  Times of Israel, July 29, 2020 In this week’s installment of The Times of Israel’s new Behind the Headlines online video series, ToI’s Jewish World and Archaeology editor Amanda Borschel-Dan speaks with Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Joe Uziel about the destruction of ancient Jerusalem in honor of the Tisha B’Av fast day.


Tish’a B’av 1887. (Wikipedia)

Table of Contents:

Huge Kingdom of Judah Government Complex Found Near US Embassy in Jerusalem: Amanda Borschel-Dan, Times of Israel, July 22, 2020

______________________________________________________On Tisha B’Av, It’s Time for Americans to Step Back from Apocalyptic Rhetoric
Jonathan S. Tobin
JNS, July 27, 2020Americans are experiencing a summer of discontent in a way that exceeds any in living memory. The nation is divided not just along political lines but seems increasingly immersed in something much dangerous—a culture war in which both sides truly believe that not only will a triumph by their opponents bring ruin, but that the very existence of the republic and American democracy is at stake.

That’s why both Jews and non-Jews need to pause this week and consider the lessons that the observance of Tisha B’Av: the day on the Hebrew calendar that marks the destruction of both ancient holy temples in Jerusalem, as well as many other catastrophes of Jewish history. The day of fasting and reflection, which begins this year on the evening of July 29, is not observed by most non-Orthodox Jews and generally considered too depressing to have become part of secular American Jewish culture, which prefers holidays that follow a model that runs along the lines of “they tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat.”

But if there was ever a year when its lessons were needed by Americans of all faiths, it is 2020.

Tradition teaches us that the fall of the Second Temple in 70 C.E. occurred because of sinat hinam—senseless or baseless hatred—that undermined Jewish resistance during the siege of Jerusalem and great revolt against the forces of the Roman Empire.

A war that pitted the forces of a small nation against the world’s only superpower wasn’t going to have a happy ending, no matter how united the defenders of Jerusalem had been. But the rabbis who subsequently reconstituted Jewish faith emphasized the way that the Jewish rebels were divided into competing factions within Jerusalem’s walls. In the civil war that raged inside the doomed city, a Zealot faction destroyed food supplies that could have prolonged resistance. Their self-destructive behavior made the task of Roman conquest that much easier and provided Jewish history with a lesson of what not to do to survive in a hostile world.

It’s an important lesson, but not one that most Jews—or non-Jews for that matter—find easy to follow.

The political lines dividing Americans are starker than at any moment in living memory. It’s not just that Republicans and Democrats disagree about the issues. Most of the supporters of President Donald Trump and most of those who support his opponents seem unprepared to credit each other with good intentions, period. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

Mourning in 2020: Tisha B’Av Spotlights Losses Old and New
Deborah Fineblum

JNS, July 21, 2020

This year Jews the world over got into the Tisha B’Av mood several months earlier than usual.

During a typical summer, Jewish families and individuals tear themselves away from family vacations, beach outings, amusement parks and other hot-weather entertainment to enter a period of mourning known as “the Three Weeks” (no weddings, haircuts or shaving, music, etc.), a process that gets more stringent in the nine days leading up to the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av (including no laundry, buying clothes, renovating, swimming, listening to music, exchanging gifts, unnecessary travel, and eating meat or drinking wine outside of Shabbat). It all culminates on Tisha B’Av, the saddest day of the Jewish year and the second most serious fast of the Jewish calendar.

Why the mourning?

On this day (beginning on July 29 at sundown), not only were both Jerusalem Temples destroyed (the first by the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 586 BCE and the second by the Romans in 70 C.E.), but other tragic events occurred as well. These included the Bar Kochba revolt against the Romans in 133 C.E. that ended in bloody defeat for the Jews, in addition to Isabella and Ferdinand’s expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. More recently, on eruv Tisha B’Av 1941, Hermann Goring signed “final solution of the Jewish problem,” and one year later—on Tisha B’Av—the first train filled with Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto arrived in Treblinka, a deadly journey that would include some 270,000 Jewish men, women and children over the following seven weeks.

The destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, oil on canvas, by Francesco Hayez. Both the first and second iterations of the “Beit HaMikdash” were razed on Tisha B’Av, hundreds of years apart. Credit: Francesco Hayez.
‘We are able to relate to many things’

For many Jews, this Tisha B’Av (literally the ninth of Av) year will be no different: the mournful spirit, the fasting and special prayers, the reading of Eichah (the book of Lamentations)—in which Jeremiah prophesized the destruction of the First Temple—and sitting on the floor or low stools (like a mourner) till midday, as well as eschewing cosmetics, fancy jewelry and leather, idle chatter and even greeting friends.

But in other ways, this Tisha B’Av is destined to be somewhat different.
On a physical level, synagogue services and group readings of Eichah will be kept to a minimum in most communities and, when they do occur, they will take place outdoors, or at least, socially distant and masked.

In addition, many seniors are being warned that due to their higher risk of contracting COVID-19 (especially for those with pre-existing conditions), going without food and water for an entire day (Tisha B’Av is a major fast in the Jewish year, second only to Yom Kippur) could compromise their immune systems. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

A Holiday Marking One Societal Rupture, Tisha B’Av Spurs Jewish Creativity Amid Another
Penina Beede
The Forward, July 29, 2020

For many observant Jews, the mourning over the destruction of the two ancient Temples in Jerusalem on the fast of Tisha B’Av actually begins three weeks earlier with the onset of a period of mourning during which it’s customary to avoid joyful activities like weddings and music.

But with much of the world already in a state of mourning as the coronavirus pandemic continues its deadly march across the planet, Rabbi Hershel Schachter made an allowance.

In a religious ruling released earlier this month, the widely respected Orthodox rabbinic authority determined that one could listen to music if doing so was needed to stave off feelings of depression in the weeks leading up to Tisha B’Av, which begins this year at sunset on July 29.

“At the current time due to the ongoing pandemic, the entire world is in a state of uncertainty and concern,” Schachter wrote. “One who feels compelled to listen to music in order to help alleviate their tension or pressure would be allowed to do so.”

As occurred in the run-up to Passover in April, the confluence of the pandemic with a Jewish observance is prompting a wellspring of Jewish creativity. New liturgies are being created, new religious rulings are being published and a large number of online events are taking place for an observance that, unlike the widely observed Passover, often passes unnoticed for many Jews.

And also unlike Passover, which celebrates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt, Tisha B’Av lends itself far more naturally to a pandemic that has left a trail of sickness and death in its wake. “As we were thinking about what spiritual tools this moment calls for, we realized we wanted to put out something for Tisha B’Av that honors the fact that it feels like we’ve been living in Tisha B’Av since the pandemic started,” said Rabbi Rachel Barenblat of North Adams, Massachusetts, a co-founder of Bayit, an organization that creates new tools for contemporary Jews.

Bayit has released five poems inspired by the pandemic but written in the style of the somber lamentations, known as kinot, that are customarily recited on Tisha B’Av. One representative line: “Our synagogues are shuttered, we are exiled to Zoom. We cry out from the depths. Do You suffer with us, God? Who will we be when the pandemic is gone?”

“It feels to many of us as if we’re living through our own churban, our own destruction in our era,” Barenblat said, using the Hebrew word referring to the destruction of the ancient Temple. “And we wanted to give voice to that.” … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

Huge Kingdom of Judah Government Complex Found Bear US Embassy in Jerusalem
Amanda Borschel-Dan
Times of Israel, July 22, 2020

One of the largest collections of royal Kingdom of Judah seal impressions has been uncovered at a massive First Temple-period public tax collection and storage complex being excavated near the new United States Embassy in Jerusalem. The main Iron Age structure is exceptional in terms of both its size and architectural style, said Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Neri Sapir, who co-directed the excavation.

Uncovered only three kilometers (1.8 mile) outside the Old City, the compound is believed by Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists to have served as an administrative center during the reigns of Judean kings Hezekiah and Menashe (8th century to the middle of the 7th century BCE).

Over 120 jar handles stamped 2,700 years ago with ancient Hebrew script seal impressions were discovered at the site, clearly indicating the location’s use as a storage and tax center, according to an IAA press release Wednesday. Prevalent among the stamped inscriptions is “LMLK,” “LamMeLeKh,” or “Belonging to the King,” a way of marking that the foodstuffs stored in the jars had been tithed to the Judean ruler.

This trove of LMLK seal impressions adds to the over 2,000 similar seals previously discovered at excavations and allows archaeologists to rethink the administrative and tax collection systems of the Kingdom of Judah.

“This is one of the most significant discoveries from the period of the Kings in Jerusalem made in recent years. At the site we excavated, there are signs that governmental activity managed and distributed food supplies not only for shortage but administered agricultural surplus amassing commodities and wealth,” said IAA excavation co-directors Sapir and Nathan Ben-Ari in a press release Wednesday.

Two-winged royal ancient Hebrew ‘LMLK’ seal impression — ‘Belonging to the King’ — found at the 2,700-year-old administrative complex in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood. (Yaniv Berman, Israel Antiquities Authority)

According to the archaeologists, the large number of seal impressions here and at nearby Kibbutz Ramat Rachel shows that much of the Kingdom of Judah’s governmental administration took place outside the City of David during at least the final centuries of the monarchy. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

For Further Reference:

Uncovering the Mystery of Tisha B’Av at the City of David:  CBN News, YouTube, July 29, 2020Join CBN News at the original Jerusalem – the City of David – where Zeev Orenstein, the Director of International Affairs (cityofdavid.org.il) will show where the Romans completed the destruction of Jerusalem nearly two thousand years ago.

A Message for Tisha B’Av During the Coronavirus Pandemic Rabbi Jonathan Sacks,  YouTube, July 29, 2020 — Here is a short message as we head towards Tisha B’Av – which begins this evening – and will be marked in strange and difficult circumstances because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

How J Street is Attempting to Desecrate Tisha B’Av Stephen M. Flatow, JNS, July 27, 2020 — If you thought Tisha B’Av was about the destruction of the holy temples and two Jewish states in ancient times, think again.

Tisha Be’av in Corona Times Benjy Singer, Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2020 — In the past, it has been hard for me to enter into the Tisha Be’av mood. Living in our young and modern Jerusalem bursting with energy and life, surrounded by family and friends, the laws of mourning of the Three Weeks and imagery of the Tisha Be’av texts seemed so distant from my own reality.

Ancient Biblical Era Temple Discovered in Israel:  James Rogers, Fox News, Feb. 17, 2020 — An international team of archaeologists has uncovered an ancient Biblical era temple in Israel.

Anti-Semitism at the NY Times Shows Jews Not Welcome in the Democratic Party:  Caroline B. Glick, Pulse of Israel, July 2020 — Columnist Caroline Glick highlights the growing problem that the Democratic party presents to the American Jewish community. She points out the recent resignation letter of Bari Weiss, the Jewish NY Times op-ed editor, who resigned because of blatant antisemitism she experienced at the paper, and the recent NY Times article by Peter Beinhart expressing how he is now against the existence of a Jewish state.