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  • Writer's pictureWendell Maxey

Tisha B’Av Provides Chance To Mourn The Past, Move Forward Together

What is the saddest day on the Jewish calendar?

That answer hits home today with the start of Tisha B’Av (the ninth of Av), the most sorrowful day of the Jewish year because it commemorates the First and Second Temples being destroyed by the Roman Empire in Jerusalem on the ninth of Av, and a surprising number of tragedies that have happened to the Jewish people on this very same date throughout history.

The list is lengthy. The impact remains lasting.

  • In 135 C.E., the Bar Kochba Revolt was quashed and hundreds of thousands of Jewish people were killed. After the Revolt, the Roman Emperor Hadrian changed Judea’s name to Syria Palestina after Israel’s long-time enemy, the Philistines.

  • In 136 C.E., Hadrian leveled what remained of the Temple in Jerusalem, leaving only what we know today as the Temple Mount.

  • In 1096 C.E., the first Crusade officially began. Thousands of Jewish people were killed or persecuted during these campaigns attempting to force them to convert to Christianity.

  • Tisha B’Av marks the end of The Three Weeks of mourning, signifying the day that the Romans breached Jerusalem’s walls in 69 C.E. The event led to the Temple’s destruction in 70 A.D. Mourning intensifies on Av 1 through the 9th.

Traditionally, Tisha B’Av includes a 25-hour fast of food and water as people grieve over the many losses throughout history. Because reading and studying the Torah brings joy, tradition also prohibits it on Tisha B’Av, except for reading sections that describe mourning laws or times when Israel endured great suffering. Reading the book of Lamentations is traditional during synagogue services on Tisha B’Av. Reading “kinot” or mourning poems is another way some commemorate this day of sorrow.

In the event of the recent news taking place in Israel this week, Tisha B’Av serves as a timely reminder of mourning and the importance of moving forward together.

To learn more about Tisha B’Av and its impact today, please visit:



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