It's not as quiet as Yom Kippur, but the 9th of Av National Day of Mourning and fasting has cast a pall and keeps people at home.
And some of you may have noticed that all of a sudden Israeli men in all walks of life, including media, politicians etc. suddenly look sort of scruffy. They haven't been shaving. You're not supposed to cut your hair (including shaving) during the three weeks (some only observe this the week) before the 9th of Av.
Yesterday, after the weather forecast on the radio, they announced when the fast was to begin in various locations. Do you get that in Monsey, Boca or Stamford Hill?
Oops! Or is this "all Greek" to you? Did I lose you when mentioning 9th of Av?
The 9th day of the Jewish Month of Av is the saddest day on the Jewish Calendar. It's the anniversary of the destruction of both Holy Temples and the total occupation of Jerusalem by foreign invaders. Yes, both Temples were destroyed in the same deadly season hundreds of years apart. The Jewish People have commemorated this for thousands of years.
Here we are in the Land of Israel with a Jewish State. Things may not be perfect yet, but we're only human. It's not so simple to evolve from exile to Redemption, but I have no doubt that we're on our way, Gd willing. Yes, I just wrote "Gd willing," but it's up to us. Each time we take the right step, Gd will step in with "matching funds" and help us to help ourselves.