Tu b’Av – Jews in the mood for love
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Tu b’Av – Jews in the mood for love

Time for a Jewish Couples Hall of Fame

Edmon J. Rodman is a JTA columnist who writes on Jewish life from Los Angeles. You can reach him at edmojace@gmail.com.

A big, round August moon will be hanging in the sky the night of Aug. 4, as Jews begin to celebrate the little-known and ancient Jewish holiday of love.

Under this shining moon of love and dedication, I propose a new museum.

Tu b’Av – the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Av, six days after the fast of Tisha b’Av – dates back to the Temple times when Jewish maidens would put on white garments and go out into the fields in search of husbands.

It was kind of an ancient Jewish Sadie Hawkins Day.

These days, it’s a modern holiday observed by both those looking for or already in love. But it should also be a day when the community collectively wakes up the morning after, steps in front of the bedroom mirror, gazes critically, and asks: How are Jewish couples doing?

The Web is gushing with sites dedicated to lists and bios of famous Jewish actors, ballplayers, artists, engineers – even Jewish criminals – yet there is an absence of sites for famous Jewish couples.

Some couples must have been successful in juggling family and work; filling the world with ma’asim tovim, good deeds. Who are they?

When we say the Amidah, we honor the patriarchs and, in many synagogues, the matriarchs as well. Where is the kavod, or honor, for couples and the Jewish synergy they create?

I propose on this Tu b’Av the creation of my own personal museum – a Jewish Couples Hall of Fame.

Among others, my inductees for the inaugural year include:

“¢ Richard and Rhoda Goldman: Not only did they help finance and design the Jerusalem Promenade, but Richard was honored recently by the San Francisco Jewish Community Foundation. He met Rhoda, a great-grandniece and heir to Levi Strauss, during World War II. Together, in 1990, they established the influential Goldman Environmental Prize. She died in 1996.

“¢ Blu and Irving “Yitz” Greenberg: The Greenbergs, great supporters of each other’s work, were married in 1957. Blu is a writer and activist focused on modern Orthodox life and a woman’s role in it. Yitz is an Orthodox rabbi and communal leader, former pulpit rabbi, and in 1974 one of the founders of CLAL, an influential center that “helps individuals imagine new Jewish possibilities.”

“¢ Harriet and Fred Rochlin: A couple forged in the West – Harriet a writer and lecturer from the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, and Fred, an architect from Nogales, Ariz., were married for 55 years before his death in 2002. With Harriet being the writer and Fred doing the photo research, together they created the landmark social history “Pioneer Jews: A New Life in the Far West.” When I spoke recently to Harriet, she told me that working together brought them both a “great deal of pleasure,” as they shared “the same hunger for their work.”

JTA

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