(ritual washing bowl by Lia Rosen) Bowl features moon, wings of Shekinah and blessing hands
Shalom aleychem, asalaamu alaykum, bienvenidas
Welcome in all the languages you love.
Tammuz is a moon of mourning and fasting on the path toward healing. We recount stories of the devastating impact of violence and awaken the healing power of truth telling.
In the earth cycle in the northern hemisphere, summer is the time of drought which can impact life adversely. Our ancestors fasted to purify themselves so the rains would come in their season. In the mythic & ceremonial cycle of our ancestors, this time period foreshadows the day, the 9th of Av, dedicated to acknowledging Horban and Nakba - Catastrophic Devastation, such as the forced exile of Jewish people from Spain in 1492.
Let us build a sanctuary for Shekinah Quickly in our day Amen
Tammuz marks the period when the first brick is removed from the outer wall of the sacred shrine, a day marked by fasting from dawn to dusk. Marking the day which saw the first stages of unfolding loss is a way of recounting how systemic violence wields destruction.
This year those of us living on Turtle Island, the United States, have a lot of loss to contend with. Tammuz through the 9th of Av is set aside to give us opportunities to collectively and ceremonially name those losses in preparation for the intense period of healing and repair in the lead up to the High Holy Days.
A moving part of the concluding day of mourning, Tisha B’Av, is the beautiful ritual associated with the conclusion of the day. Just before dusk, we are invited to sweep the dust accumulated in our homes out the door. We stand at the threshold facing the night sky, and sing songs of hope and repair. We invite guests to join us in a meal to break the fast, and recount those things that instill us with strength for the next healing step.
In this moment, with the loss of environmental rights, religious freedom rights, and reproductive rights, we are feeling devastated and angry. Let us take time to mourn these very real losses. We know the scale of preventable damage these decisions will cause. Let our grief fuel our resistance. Here is a fasting ceremony you are welcome to use to create a community of mourning and protest during the Tammuz - Av period.
"I am with them in distress." (Psalm 91:15)
As we experience grief, may we commit to fasting from all forms of violence that cause harm to others.
Our ancestors passed on this protocol ( Mishneh Ta-a-nit) What was the ritual performed during fast days? They would bring out the ark into the town square and put dust and ashes upon it, and upon the head of the mayor and governor and the heads of religious authority and on each and every person present. A respected elder would speak words of rebuke: It does not say about the people of Nineveh, that Shekinah saw their sackcloth and their fasting and issued forgiveness. Rather, Shekinah saw their deeds. The people repaired their misdeeds. As it is written, "Rend your hearts, not your clothes." (Joel 2)
Lamentations for the broken cities
Como ha quedado sola la ciudad populosa La grande entre las naciones se ha vuelto como viuda, La señora de provincias ha sido hecha tributaria. Amargamente llora en la noche, y us lagrimas estan en sus mejillas. No tiene quien la consuele de todos sus amantes Todos sus amigos le faltaron se le volvieron enemigo.
The city destroyed by war sits alone, Once full of people, A great city among the nations. Now she weeps alone in the night with none to comfort her. Her young are crushed and burnt with fire. Her buildings have become rubble. Only sorrow remains. Remember what has happened in a city destroyed by war, the once beautiful city a gem among the cities of the earth lays in ruins. Let all who are accountable for sorrows born of oppression We say to you: (Community calls out what destructive acts must end And what we want for the world we wish to see)
We resist violence with the power of our humanity. We light a candle that illuminates a house Where everyone is fully welcome and no one is afraid.
Wise words from activist, Jean Zaru, a Palestinian Quaker:
"Those who benefit from the structures of oppression are dependent on the people they oppress and are equally in need of liberation. The will and strength to end the oppression and violence comes from those who bear the oppression and violence in their own lives and very rarely from privileged and powerful persons and nations... In facing nonviolence, should we 'submit, become bitter, collaborate, do nothing about the forces that control our lives? Do we accommodate, comply or manipulate?
The alternative is to resist. Resistance challenges the sys- tem's values and categories. Resistance speaks its own truth to power, and shifts the ground of struggle to its own ter- rain. Resistance is often thought of as negative. However, resistance is the refusal to be neglected and disregarded. To resist is to be human.
None of us can resist all the time, in every area of life. We must choose our battles, meaning we must choose the pri- orities of struggle."
Poems From Lamentations Raba, a midrash about mourning
The way is scattered now but I remember when the women of Lydda would knead their bread come up to me for prayer and return home before the bread rose. I remember when the women of Sepphoris came to me early for prayer and still no one could gather figs earlier than they could. I remember when the school teacher in Magdala used to arrange the candles on Friday afternoon, come up to me for worship and still arrive home to light them in time for Shabbat.
Shekinah said, It was the women who aroused my compassion If one had a loaf of bread just enough to last her family one day, and a neighbor's son died she would take the bread and comfort her neighbor with food and caring. Even when her house was burned down Shekinah did not depart from her people but accompanied them with loving remembrance that watered the seeds of their existence and brings forth new life So may it be for us.
TEARING CLOTHING by Dori Midnight
Kriah: rending a garment in grief Kriah (hebrew for tearing) is an ancient Jewish tradition of tearing one’s clothes in grief upon hearing of the death of a loved one or in a ritual prior to burial. The tearing of garments is a powerful, embodied grief practice - the feeling of the fabric shredding in our hands and the sound of the rip create an opening for us to really feel and process the loss. As we hold the torn pieces, we also hold the ways in which we have been rendered and changed and will never be the same. Today, many people use a small black ribbon that is cut while reciting a blessing and worn on the clothes, sometimes for the period of shiva (7 days) or for shloshim (30 days). The ribbon is like a grief flag: with no words, we are able reflect to the world that we are literally torn up, that we are carrying a broken heart.
Other mourning rituals:
Placing stones on gravesite Washing hands when you leave a grave site Lighting yartzeit candles in memoriam of family ancestors Smashing bowls with incantations House cleaning and sweeping dust from the house to the yard. Fasting Praying at graves of ancestors Traveling to sacred sites that are in need of healing prayer and witness. Telling stories of the goddess who travels to the underworld and learns the wisdom of rebirth
A prayer upon seeing the new moon, by Rabbi Lynn.
night sky moon moon grows full land wise moon moon thins in the dark moon moon talit ha-mavet moon moon soul of the skies moon moon we lift up our eyes moon moon stand straight with a dance moon moon circle around moon moon brucha osainu blessed maker of all things alive brucha yotzraynu blessed shaper of all things alive brucha boraynu blessed creatrix of all things alive brucha atzilaynu blessed illumination of all things alive keep evil away moon moon braid us a crown moon moon shalom shalom shalom amen amen amen selah halleluyah