Tisha B’Av in Palestine

Tisha B’Av in Palestine
Elliott batTzedek

Homes destroyed.
Orchards flattened.
Buses and markets and buildings
         and children
bombed.
Water tanks overturned,
and water, the breath of life to the desert,
spilled into the cracks of the dry and desperate Av earth.

May I build a house on my land?
         No
May I travel from here to here
without fear?
         No
May I have any assurance that my children will grow up
to be neither killed nor killers?
         No
May I demand any way other than defend or destroy,
pillage or starve?
         No
How many times did Pharoh say
         No
before he became irrelevant?

Destruction after destruction after destruction;
It is time for history to record
someone saving Jerusalem.

This is one small part of an entire Tisha B’Av liturgy I’ve created that combines Jewish, Arab, and Palestinian voices all reflecting on the experience of exile. In the pieces, poems and liturgy speak back and forth to one another until the voices blend, a chorus of loss, yearning, and dreams of home. If you’d like a copy, drop me a note or post here.

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