Tisha B’Av, known as the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, commences at sundown Wednesday and ends an hour after sundown on Thursday evening. The holiday also known as “the Ninth of Av” is a major fast day and commemorates the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem approximately 656 years apart. It is the conclusion of the “Three Weeks” that began with the fast of the 17th of Tammuz and the culmination of the “Nine Days” during which drinking wine, eating meat (excdpt on Shabbat) or having activities seen as joyful are prohibited.
According to rabbinic sources and historians, the date of the Ninth of Av has been an especially horrid day for Jews. Aside from the destruction of the First Temple in 587 BCE (3387) and the Second Temple in 70 CE (3830), the Bar Kochba revolt was quelled in 135 CE (3895) On this date British Jews were officially ordered expelled from England by an edict signed by King Edward I in 1290 CE (5050). All Spanish Jews were exiled by the Alhambra Decree in 1492 CE by Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand II and, more recently, World War I began on this same date. During World War II the plan for Hitler’s “Final Solution” was presented by Henrich Himmler in 1940 CE (5700) and two years later Jews within the Warsaw Ghetto began to be deported.
Eicha, a book of lamentations, is read at the onset of the holiday.
While work is permitted, many observant Jews are adjoined from having marital relations, bathing and wearing leather shoes. Women refrain from wearing make-up.