Ritual and Violation Through the Ages

Here’s something new at Times of Israel, touching on issues of ritual and Jewish practice covered in the book. It starts,

The new 9-ll attack in Libya and its aftermath sickened me with images of the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and reports of the violation of his body, dragged through the streets of Benghazi. Seeing the bloody handprints of Americans on a pillar reminded me of the photo from the 2000 lynching of two IDF reservists in Ramallah, as Aziz Salha waved his blood-drenched hands in triumph after the killings, which also involved the reservists’s bodies being dragged through the streets.

Separated by almost 12 years but united by the barbarism of the perpetrators, these two acts coincide with thoughts I’ve had lately on death, the rituals of mourning and the deep anguish caused when those rituals are violated.

With Yom Kippur passed, with its reflections on life and death, I’m struggling to find a narrative thread connecting horrific media images. They contrast violently with my traditional sense of treating the dead.

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