Today is Tisha B'Av, the day of mourning for the destruction of Jerusalem and of the First and Second Temples, for the beginning of the first Crusade, for the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, and for other tragedies and pogroms that began on this 9th day of Av throughout our history.
It is customary to have a communal reading of the scroll of Lamentations, in Hebrew Eicha.
Instead of going to the local synagogue and sitting in the balcony behind a curtain in the women's section, I went alone to another place much prayed in, sat on the old stone floor, and read the Lamentations of Jeremiah by candlelight.
There, in silence and solitude, the words of the great prophet spoke to me as never before. So sad, so powerful, so moving!
Only in Jerusalem do the words come alive so much.
"How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she that was great among the nations! . . . She weeps bitterly in the night, tears on her cheeks. . . ."
I urge you to sample the language and the mood of this 5-chapter book of the Bible. It can be found here.