Collective Memory and the 9th of Av.

Today, I’m – along with much of the Jewish community – observing the day of Jewish mourning, called Tisha Be’Av, which means the 9th day of the month of Av (on the Hebrew calendar).

It involves a hefty list of ritualistic abstention:

1. No eating or drinking

2. No application of creams, lotions, etc.

3. No wearing leather

4. No washing or bathing

5. No sexual relations

The point is to mourn in memory of a host of tragedies occurring on this date throughout Jewish history, most noted (and the first) of which are the destructions of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem.

The day is taken seriously in modern-day Jerusalem, where there are laws keeping shops and commercial establishments closed.

To me, this day is the perfect example of all collective memory efforts I can think of. The Jewish people has been remembering this day and observing its rituals for thousands of years. We read accounts of what happened throughout the day. We act as mourners act.

I strongly feel that collective memory is what has kept the Jewish people alive all these years, homeless as we have been.

It’s possible that the study of collective memory in conflict will be where my thesis begins…


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