The Mourning of the Ninth of Av -- The Lament for the Fall of Zion, and the Love of Fatherland.
I T is now some six or seven and twenty years ago 1 since, one evening of the ninth of Av, the Rabbi of a small town in South Germany had his synagogue brilliantly lit up and invited the members of his congregation to attend in their best clothes. This was the night when over the whole face of the earth, wherever a small group of Jews form a congregation and come together for prayer in the House of God, light and cheerfulness and festive mood are banished from the gathering, and every man who calls himself a Jew sits mourning on the ground, and the Lamentations of Jeremiah over the orphaned city of God find an echo in every Jewish breast. And it was on this evening that the preacher mentioned mounted the pulpit and raised a loud protest against this sadness and this mourning and this yearning for Palestine. He accused the millions of his mourning brethren in the whole world around him of treason and enmity towards State and Fatherland, and he called on his dismayed congregation, in contrast to these millions, to show by means of a festal celebration their repudiation of the out-of-date yearning for Palestine, and to give proof of their patriotic attachment to the Fatherland in which they lived and worked, and from which they at least hoped to obtain full civic freedom and equality. Jerusalem, he said, was here. Palestine was now situated on German soil.
We still remember vividly the indignation with which we were all filled when the South-German newspapers gave publicity to this incident and by means of judicious praise lent encouragement to this "awakening of a better Jewish consciousness." This time was the beginning of the Jewish "Sturm und Drang" period in which young Jewish pastors girded up____________________