Tisha B’Av is a major day of communal mourning on the traditional Jewish calendar. This year it’s at sunset August 8, 2011 – nightfall August 9, 2011.
It is celebrated as a day of mourning to remember various events such as the destruction of the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem.
Although a large number of disasters are said to have befallen the Jews on this day, the commemoration is largely focused on the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. and 70 C.E., respectively.
Tisha B’Av is traditionally believed to be a sad day that observes other major disasters and tragedies that affected Jewish people throughout history.
How is Tisha B’Av observed?
To commemorate the destruction of the two Temples, Megillat Eicha (the Book of Lamentations) is read in the evening, and in some communities in the morning. It is traditional to fast on Tisha B’Av, and to refrain from wearing leather shoes and bathing. Some people break their fast after Mincha, the afternoon prayer service. People also refrain from listening to music and enjoying other forms of entertainment.