How Should Reform Jews Observe Tishah B’Av? (published on URJ.ORG)

One Reform rabbi writes about his practice for Tisha B’Av.

Finding Ourselves In Biblical Narratives


I had never even heard of Tishah B’Av until I was 12 years old and participating in the inaugural season of the Camp Institute for Living Judaism (later to renamed URJ Eisner Camp) in Great Barrington, MA. Since then, I have struggled with the significance of this day for me as a Reform Jew.

On Tishah B’Av, traditionally observant Jews fast in memory of the two magnificent Temples of Jerusalem destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE and the Romans in 70 CE. The day also commemorates other historical tragedies. For example, it is said that the beginning of the first Crusade in 1095, a time of persecution and slaughter of the Jews of Europe and in 1290 the expulsion of Jews from England both took place on that date. Tishah B’Av also coincides with the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492…

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Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, granny, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at and teaches at Hamaqom | The Place in Berkeley, CA.

4 thoughts on “How Should Reform Jews Observe Tishah B’Av? (published on URJ.ORG)”

  1. Absolutely loved this article. I have also struggled with never feeling particularly sad about the destruction of the temples because it did put an end to animal sacrifice as a means to communicate gratitude/observance to our Creator, a practice that makes me uncomfortable to even think about doing (although you can’t change history, so it is what it is). Rabbi Fuchs apparently understands this and also offers alternatives to still observe the date and make it meaningful. Thank you for posting this!


    1. So glad you liked it too! I am certainly glad we don’t sacrifice animals any more. By the way, if you check out Rabbi Fuchs’ website, you will see links to a book he’s recently published. I recommend it heartily.


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