By Lisa Bodziner
When it comes to summer, words like sun, fun, vacation, NO TEACHERS, baseball games, swimming and BBQ might come to mind when describing the season. On the farm too, we are celebrating; reaping our winter and early spring planting and benefitting from such a plentiful season of fresh produce and earthly delights.
During the heat of the summer, however, we are taught the rhythm of the Jewish calendar. This happens to be a deep time of introspection and mourning. Why, in the height of our fun and joy would we be obligated to mourn?
We are taught that on the 9th of Av (the Hebrew month correlated to late July-August) both our first and second temples were destroyed. As a result, the three weeks, and more specifically, during the nine days leading up to that time, individuals refrain from pleasures in which they are accustomed. We are taught to question ourselves and our people: How can we become better people in this world? How can we strengthen our righteous deeds and actions?
In this time of mourning and introspection, a family friend recently passed away. He was a true chalutz, a true pioneer in the land of Israel and in America. He fought in the Six Day War, lived through many years of intense Israeli history and made a life for himself and his family when he moved to America. He was a man of many talents and what he taught his friends and family most was how to always improve your current situation. What he left behind was a reminder that a true fighter always seeks the good and makes the most in sadness or in happiness.
As Jews, we are obligated to celebrate after times of deep mourning and introspection. After we mourn the destruction of the two temples, many people use the time to get married, to celebrate life and return to the heightened excitement of the summer season.
This summer, at Pearlstone, after the mourning in the month of Av, we welcomed 24 families here for our first annual Pearlstone Family Farm camp. One hundred participants from ages 2 months and older, from different denominations and states around the country joined together to honor Jewish unity, farming and peoplehood. From a time of sadness, we moved into something wondrous and groundbreaking.
May you and your families experience and celebrate together our Jewish tradition, Jewish values, culture and land, where everyone has their hand in making greatness and joy from the ground-up, together.