Tishah B’Av, observed on the 9th (tishah) of the Hebrew month of Av, is a day of mourning the destruction of both ancient Temples in Jerusalem. In modern times, many Jews understand Tishah B’Av as a day to remember many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people throughout history, and to reflect on the suffering that still occurs in our world.
Customarily, Tishah B’Av is a time set aside for fasting and mourning. As on Yom Kippur, the fast extends from sundown until the following sundown. In the synagogue, the Book of Eichah (Lamentations) is chanted, as are kinot, which are dirges written during the Middle Ages. Sitting on low stools, a custom associated with mourning the dead, Jews read sections of the books of Jeremiah and Job, as well as passages from the Bible and the Talmud that deal with the Temples’ destructions in 586 B.C.E. and 70 C.E.
Over the centuries, other tragic events have come to be commemorated on this day, including the brutal massacres of the Crusades, the Jewish expulsion from Spain, and the Holocaust, making Tishah B’Av a symbol of Jewish suffering and loss