Today in synagogue we added the prayer announcing the new month. We called it "menachem Av" - we should be comforted Av - because the 9th of Av marks the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Though that happened about 2,000 years ago, the religious significance still reverberates today. We break the glass at the end of the wedding ceremony realizing that we shouldn't be so happy since the Temple is no longer standing. We pray three times a day for the rebuilding of the Temple. Some even leave a corner of a room of their home unpainted for how can one's home be complete if the community's religious home is no more.
The 9th of Av - Tisha B'Av - connects us to Israel and Jerusalem and helps us understand our relationship with our people's homeland and capital. Therefore, I have included charities that help us make that connection. The New Israel Fund raises money for progressive causes in Israel that promote democracy and improved relations with Israel's Arab citizens. The Jerusalem Foundation promotes cultural and educational activities in the city of Jerusalem. And Mitzvah Heroes helps individuals and organizations that help people in Jerusalem mainly and other places in Israel. Check out their web sites and consider supporting them.