This year, the ninth of the month of Av, a Jewish fast day, occurred together with the Muslim fast day El Youm al Tarbiyah (Tarbiyah is an Arabic word that means: increase, nurture, rear, growth, or loftiness – the day of quenching the thirst of knowledge), which is one of the two days before the major holiday of Eid al Adha (holiday of sacrifice). The Jewish fast day commemorates the destruction of the first and second temples, which occurred on the same calendar day. According to legend, the second temple was destroyed because of senseless hatred amongst people. The fast is not only commemorative, it is a sign of mourning – both of the destruction and of the hatred. It is also imbued with hope. A hope that we remember and understand, and strive for unity and love, so that there will be rebuilding and coexistence. My Muslim supervisee, M., shared with me today the Arabic meaning of Tarbiyah. It is to quench the thirst. In their tradition the thirst for knowledge, connection and peace can be quenched by drinking from the hand of God. Striving for senseless and baseless love. The joint hope and learning with respect of each other’s traditions allows for better understanding of our common roots.Tomorrow, as she explained, is the day of Arafa. According to traditional lore it is the Mount Arafa, mountain of knowledge, where Adam and Eve met and knew each other, after being chased out of the garden of Eden “for eating the Apple.” This is where they fell in love and procreated. I cannot but wonder how in our tradition too there is a day of love and meeting potential mates on the 15th of Av, 6 days after the fast! It seems that to have hope after mourning, we all need to connect to love and joy. As for the apple, it was the first time she heard that in the biblical story Adam and Eve ate “from the fruit of the tree of knowledge.” Until then, they did not really know themselves. My understanding which I shared, was that you cannot really “know” and connect to another until you know yourself. So only after they saw and recognized themselves, were they able to know each other on the Mountain of Knowledge. By tomorrow night, the same mountain becomes the one on which Abraham was going to sacrifice his son Ismael. The Adha, sacrifice, ended with sacrificing a lamb, so traditionally the Muslim community slaughters a lamb and there is a big celebration with food, family, joy, and fireworks. It is a pity we Jews do not celebrate Isaac nearly being sacrificed by Abraham. Perhaps the proximity of the story of Sara’s death prevents us from celebrating Issac’s good fortune. An interesting addition to my cultural education came from my Druze client G. who informed me that the only holiday that they celebrate together with the Muslims is Eid al Adha. This is not because it is part of their religion, but because they were persecuted by the Muslims, and in order not to stand out and become targets for violent acts by their neighbors they took on the custom. Druze do not have any holidays, I was told by G. It is when they decided to join the Israeli Army that they were asked about their holidays – in order to get furlough on those days, they “invented” holidays. The one is Eid al Adha, and the other is Nabi Shoeib Day. The prophet Shoeib is believed to be Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses from the Bible. His shrine is near the city of Tiberias in Israel. This is a day of traditional pilgrimage to the shrine, and a time to honor the elders of the Druze. They are considered the learned keepers of the religion. People come to honor them and it is an opportunity to ask them philosophical and religious questions. Normally, secular Druze are not familiar with their religion; only the ones who become scholars and take on religious practices are privileged to study. Some female art therapists whom I supervise come from the Druze community, and one of them is religious, so I can see the difference in her approach to life and therapy, but I cannot be sure it is a consequence of her observance. The only thing I have learned is that she fasts every Monday and Thursday. Apparently, it is also fashionable to fast for health reasons these days, but I do not think this is so in her case. An image emerged in my mind’s eye when we discussed all the similarities and distinctions of our communities. I saw a big tree, perhaps a very old Olive tree, with a thick trunk. Out of the trunk grew several strong branches, each leading in different directions. All the branches bear fruit, rich, green or black, small or large, different types of olives. When you shake the tree, to harvest the olives, they all go into the olive press, and produce rich, fragrant, tasty olive oil. Oil that is healthy, rich in flavor and healing. Perhaps this is only an image, but perhaps it can also be a metaphor for what we can achieve together. Eid Said, and health to all.