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Tisha B’Av

Today/tomorrow marks the fast of Tisha B’Av for our Jewish brothers and sisters. This day is meant to mark the various calamities and disasters visited upon the Jewish people throughout history, from the destruction of the two temples, the Roman persecutions, the Crusades all the way to the Holocaust. Most solemnly, since I am here in Sfarad/al-Andalus, it also marks the day the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 (July 31, 1492/Av 8-9, 5252 AM). It is often forgotten that the Jewish community of Sfarad/al-Andalus/Spain was persecuted, forcibly converted, and/or expelled in a manner similar to the Muslim community in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. However, as both Muslim and Jew mourn the past in this tragic land, let us also look forward. Yes, what was lost can never be retrieved, but we can all work for a brighter future God-willing. We can pave the way to that future by eliminating all forms of discrimination, hatred, and prejudice (those phenomena which gave rise to these historic tragedies)…beginning with the lingering animosities in our own hearts.

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