Tisha B'Av (Hebrew: תשעה באב), which translates to the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, is a day of mourning for the Jewish community. It commemorates various tragic events in Jewish history, most notably the destruction of both the First Temple by the Babylonians in 586 BCE and the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 CE. The Observance also recognizes tragic occurrences such as the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290 and from Spain in 1492.
In America, Tisha B'Av carries unique historical significance as it underscores the importance of religious freedom for the Jewish community. The founding principles of the United States, such as freedom of religion, provided refuge for Jews to practice their faith without fear of persecution. Observing Tisha B'Av in America serves as a reminder to be grateful for the liberties granted to religious minorities, while also acknowledging the difficult history of the Jewish people.
The observance of Tisha B'Av in America typically involves fasting, prayer, and the study of Jewish texts. Fasting starts from the beginning of the ninth day of Av and lasts for about 25 hours. During this period, engaging in rejoicing activities such as listening to music, wearing festive clothes, or indulging in luxurious activities is avoided. Instead, the Jewish community spends the day in reflection and sorrow. The Talmud dictates the exact timing of Tisha B'Av, which does not differ in America compared to other countries and thus usually occurs in July or August of the Gregorian calendar.
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