Joint Tisha B’Av Statement From the OU and RCA

July 15, 2013


In the shadow of the mournful fast of Tisha B’Av, a day that marks the destruction of our sacred Temples in Jerusalem and the onset of countless years of tragedy for the Jewish people, the Rabbinical Council of America and the Orthodox Union issue a heartfelt plea. We call upon all Jews throughout the world to reclaim the glory of our people by refraining from language that divides us and promoting language and deeds that unite us.

Recently we have witnessed a frightening exacerbation of internal discord and an ominous intensification of inflammatory rhetoric. We have heard vile insults, offensive name-calling — including the inciteful invocation of the name ‘Amalek’ — and vicious personal attacks emanating from all sides on the various troublesome issues that we now confront. We have even witnessed physical violence. Indeed, in recent months we have seen precincts of Jerusalem’s Old City, in the shadow of the destroyed Temple for which we mourn today, become a venue for provocation and insult, rather than a place of unity for the global Jewish community.

We urge all Jews to celebrate the diversity of our community, whatever our ideology or choice of head covering. Each of us — men, women and children — is a cherished member of our people and we must educate all members of our community to honor and respect each other. We pray that all will one day soon glory in the rebuilding of our nation and our Temple.

We recall the teaching of our sages who noted that the Second Temple was destroyed due to the sin of “sinat chinam” — unprovoked enmity. We therefore, on this eve of Tisha B’Av, call on all individuals and organizations to join us in in dedicating our efforts to creating a world filled with “ahavat chinam” — unqualified love for one another.

May each of us who this year mourn the destruction of Jerusalem, merit to see it rebuilt speedily in our days.

OU | Enhancing Jewish Life