“The Three Weeks” of Mourning on Jewish Calendar begins with Fast-Day this Thursday


by Rabbi R. Karpov, Ph.D.


On the Jewish calendar, there is a solemn period during the summer called “The Three Weeks.” It begins with a comparatively minor fast-day from dawn to dusk this year on 9 July 2020, and ends with a major fast-day of over 24 hours starting right before dusk, this year 29 July, until after sunset 30 July.

These fasts commemorate the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem – the location of communal sacred worship. As with the Cherokee “Trail of Tears,” the Diné (Navajo) “Long Walk,” and other nations, the people were murdered horrifically, violated, and force-walked into slavery and exile from their homes and sacred land.

Some Jews, as was the case with those Native American Indian tribes, did remain in their indigenous land, surviving over the generations in the shadow of conquering empires. But the memory of this terrible destruction and defilement of what is most cherished – what is sacred -- is a collective and primal scream that has echoed throughout history, for the last two millennia.

Some kinds of grieving are specific to traumatic unexpected traumatic loss. Rabbi Jacob Goldberg, who was called in to help relatives of the 270 people who died in Pan Am Flight 103’s terrorist bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, wrote a book and taught a course on that subject.

Rabbi Goldberg said that people need to grieve. He observed that the Kennedy funeral’s model of response with “Salute your Daddy” had done the American people untold damage.

This year, with so much death from COVID-19 and civil unrest, anybody – Jewish or not -- can also add those losses to the collective grieving of this time-period. For further information, feel free to contact Jewish Center of Indian Country’s Facebook page, or (405) 466-5234.