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Newbury Park synagogue to remember those lost to disasters in fasting day

PUBLISHED: 16:45 23 July 2015 | UPDATED: 16:47 23 July 2015

Rabbi David Hulbert with the doors and ten commandments

Rabbi David Hulbert with the doors and ten commandments

Archant

Jews are set to remember catastrophes and calamities as they fast to mark a “national day of mourning”.

Rabbi David Hulbert, of Bet Tikvah Synagogue, Perrymans Farm Road, Newbury Park, said Tisha B’Av – an annual day of fasting to commemorate Jewish disasters – is about “understanding suffering”.

Those observing Tisha B’Av, which translates as the ninth day of Av – the fifth month of the Jewish calender – are due to attend a service at the synagogue on Saturday and fast for 24 hours after sunset.

The day’s origins lie in commemorating the anniversary of the destruction of the first and second temples of ancient Jerusalem.

Rabbi Hulbert said: “We have national days of celebration but not days of mourning.

“It’s important to have a day like this because modern people are always celebrating the bright side of life but life isn’t always like that.

“There’s unbelievable suffering in this world and it’s just to be aware of that side of our history too.”

He added: “It reflects the historical feeling of the people these things happened to thousands of years ago.”

The Rabbi said those taking part read the Book of Lamentations – a collection of poems – while some observe traditions such as not sitting on chairs of normal height or not wearing nice clothes – usually observed during periods of mourning.

“It’s as if someone has died,” he said.

“We’re still in mourning for these calamities and we remember the Holocaust too – even though there’s a separate day for that – it’s about remembering all of these events.

“It’s about learning to have empathy with people that are suffering starvation or being orphaned through the effects of war – we try to understand what it feels like for them.”

Rabbi Hulbert said it was important to remember those suffering due to conflicts today too – in Iraq and Syria.

“Tisha B’Av is not a very popular festival, but afterwards it marks the start our summer holidays.”


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