We Have Reason to Mourn This Tisha B’Av

The Book of Lamentations (Eicha) which will be read throughout the world after the end of the Sabbath tomorrow, sometimes fails to speak to some of us.  But this year it should speak to all of us given what is going on in Israel today.

How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations!

But now her leadership puts forth a nation state law that institutionalizes racism and places 21% of the population in a position of formal subservience.   O tempora, o mores, shame on the times and its morals.  And shame on those whose eyes are blinded to the truth.

Look, Lord, on my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed.

The founder of Facebook states that those who deny the Holocaust are not intentionally getting this wrong and, in the interest of protecting free speech, it need not be removed from the site regardless of the fact that it is, plain a simple, a lie.  O tempora, o mores, shame on the times and its morals.

He has brought her kingdom and its princes down to the ground in dishonor.

The Haifa rabbinate forces the police to arrest Conservative Rabbi Dov Haiyun at 5:30 AM for doing what rabbis are supposed to do, marry people who want to get married on the pretext that one of the partners to the marriage was ineligible to get married (not true) and that Rabbi Haiyun failed to appear for a hearing when summoned (also later proven to be untrue).  This is the same Rabbi Haiyun who later in the day was a featured speaker at the President of Israel’s annual pre-Tisha B’av study session.  O tempora, o mores, shame on the times and its morals.

He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains.

Meyer Kaplow, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Brandeis University and a well-respected American philanthropist, is stopped and questioned on departure from Israel because he had a Palestinian pamphlet in his suitcase. To neutralize the insult Israel’s Consul General in New York, Danny Danon, felt compelled to call and apologize.  O tempora, o mores, shame on the times and its morals.

He has barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made my paths crooked.

Israel passes a law giving surrogate rights to women in lesbian relationships but not to men in gay relationships.  The Prime Minister votes for the law even though he assured everyone 48 hours earlier that he would support surrogate rights for everyone.   O tempora, o mores, shame on the times and its morals.

I became the laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day long.

The Israeli government reaches an agreement to deal with the issue of African asylum seekers and then abrogates the agreement just 24 hours later under coalition pressure. O tempora, o mores, shame on the times and its morals.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.   They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

And yet, we continue to believe, we continue to hope and we believe that eventually there will come a day when we will have no reason to mourn.  May it be soon.

About the Author
Sherwin Pomerantz is a native New Yorker, who lived and worked in Chicago for 20 years before coming to Israel in 1984. An industrial engineer with advanced degrees in mechanical engineering and business, he is President of Atid EDI Ltd., a 33 year old Jerusalem-based economic development consulting firm which, among other things, represents the regional trade and investment interests of a number of US states, Ontario and Hong Kong. A past national president of the Association of Americans & Canadians in Israel, he is also Chairperson of the Israel Board of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. His articles have appeared in various publications in Israel and the US.
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