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Tisha B’Av pilgrimage to villages that have suffered destruction, or are in danger

Tisha B’Av pilgrimage to Khan Al Akhmar, and additional villages that have suffered destruction, or are in danger (Al Araqib, Umm Al Hiran, Susya)

Leaving the Liberty Bell Garden parking lot in Jerusalem at 14:45. Torat Tzedek will try to organize transportation from other locations, if requested. Those with cars can choose to participate in one or more segments, without participating in the entire pilgrimage.

On Tisha B’Av we remember the two Temples that once stood in Jerusalem. Until today we mourn this national tragedy. There are those for whom our national pain makes them incapable of feeling the pain of non-Jews. However, the Torah commands us not to do to oppress others as we were oppressed. Anybody whose heart has not become deadened must feel the agony of others, and work to prevent it. The destruction of every home that we demolish on either side of the Green Line is as painful for that family as what we feel on a national level.

It is “eifah v’eifah” (a prohibited and discriminatory double standard) when the Jewish State doesn’t give that family a fair and equal chance to build legally, even as “The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation."

It is an injustice and a crime when the destruction intentionally serves the Jewish State’s goal to dispossess non-Jews.

Now, the Jewish State is poised to destroy entire villages. El-Araqib has been destroyed 130 times, and counting. The State is waiting to destroy Khan Al Ahmar as soon as it is allowed. Umm Al Hiran is to be destroyed by the end of August. Susya is in the cross hairs. And, there are others….

In the minkha (afternoon) Tisha B’Av prayers (Because Shabbat postpones the fast, it will actually be the 10th of Av), our mourning begins to be eased by a ray of hope and comfort. The words of the Tisha B’Av morning haftarah rings in our ears, "Zion will be redeemed through justice, and they that return to her through righteousness" (Isaiah 1:27) Still mourning the destruction of our values, determined to stop the injustice and make amends, and with hope that justice will prevail, in spite of everything, we will set out on a pilgrimage. We will look into the eyes of the residents of the endangered villages, and commit to doing whatever we can to stop the injustice and the destruction:

14:45 Departure from the Liberty Bell Garden parking lot in Jerusalem (And from other locations, if there is sufficient demand.)

15:30-16:15 Khan Al Akhmar

18:00-18:30- Al Araqib

19:00-19:39 Umm Al Hiran

20:20:45 Susya, and breaking the fast.

22:00 Return to Jerusalem.

Those with cars can join us in one or more villages, without participating in the entire pilgrimage. We can drop off people in French Hill on the way from Khan Al Akhmar to Al Araqib.

Please register at You can call Yaakov Manor at 050-5733276. On Friday until Shabbat, and on Saturday after Shabbat, you can call Rabbi Arik Ascherman at 050-5607034.

If we are mentschen, how can we not empathize with and take responsibility for the terrible sense of loss and destruction in each of the hundreds of Occupied Territories Palestinian families per ?year whose homes are demolished, and the over 1,000 Israeli Bedouin families per year in the Negev? i

Shouldn't we be overwhelmed by the sense of impending doom in entire communities that may be wiped off the map, such as Susya, Um El Khiran, Wadi El-Na'am and El-Araqib? i

By the way, the pain felt by settlers who lose their homes is the same pain. However, they are an influential part of the majority in the polis, the democratic body that allowed them to settle, and has decided to move them. i

Palestinians are entirely disenfranchised, while the Bedouin are a minority that will be "democratically" outvoted every time. This disenfranchisement was sadly perpetuated by Israeli High Court Justices Rubinstein, Hendel and Sohlberg in their ruling on RHR's petition to remedy one aspect of this patently unjust situation. i

Continuing with my reflections of 20 years with RHR, I recall rebuilding the Shawamre home in Anata on the three days leading up to Tisha B'Av in 1997/5757, and the redemolition two days after Tisha B'Av. I have always wondered what Jeremiah, the prophet so associated with Tisha B'Av, would have said about the injustice being perpetrated in his home town. i

On Tisha B'Av 2005/5765 it was incredibly difficult and incredibly meaningful to both fast and engage in the hard physical labor of rebuilding the village of Khirbat Tana, that had recently been almost entirely razed. i

So yes, I will be in Susya at the demonstration on the even of Tisha B'Av tomorrow (Friday) and I will sit in the dirt of Susya on Tisha B'Av itself. I will participate in the weekly vigil of the 85 times demolished El-Araqib at the Lehavim junction on Tisha B'Av afternoon. I also to volunteer at the 13th annual ICAHD rebuilding camp in Anata. i

I will pray that in the coming years we will not be mourning Susya with the words of the Book of Lamentations we read on Tisha B'Av, and the words "Jerusalem as greatly sinned. Therefore she is become a mockery. All who admired her despise her, for they have seen her disgraced." (Lamentations 1:8). i

As I put on tefillin Tisha B'Av afternoon, symbolizing that we turn from despair to hope, I will pray that our actions will prevent the destruction of Susya [RAA1] , of Um El Khiran and of the other threatened Palestinian and Bedouin villages. I will pray that El-Araqib will be rebuilt and restored. i

Reading the second chance given us in the Tisha B'Av afternoon Torah reading and the words of the Tisha B'Av afternoon Haftarah, "Observe what is right and to what is just for son My salvation shall come" Isaiah 56 1_ I will know that it is our obligation to make real the prophecy we read the Shabbat preceding Tisha B'Av "Zion will be redeemed through justice, and they that return to her through righteousness" (Isaiah 1:27).

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