Tisha B'Av, or the Ninth of Av, is a day of mourning and fasting observed by Jews worldwide to commemorate various tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people throughout history. Primarily, it marks the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem – events that changed the course of Jewish history. The day has since become a symbol of Jewish suffering and endurance, with several other significant historical events coinciding with Tisha B'Av, such as the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492 and the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
In Israel, Tisha B'Av holds special significance given the historical and emotional ties to the land and its ancient capital, Jerusalem. The Western Wall, which is a remnant of the Second Temple and the holiest site in Judaism, becomes the focal point for thousands of Israelis and Jewish visitors who gather to pray and mourn the destruction. Furthermore, the observance of Tisha B'Av has played a significant role in shaping Israeli policy, particularly in relation to religious sites and Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The observance of Tisha B'Av in Israel includes several customs designed to express grief and humility. In addition to fasting for approximately 25 hours, individuals may also avoid wearing leather shoes and engaging in leisure activities. On the actual day, it is customary for people to sit on the floor or low chairs, as a sign of mourning, and to read from the Book of Lamentations. Tisha B'Av usually falls in the Hebrew month of Av, which coincides with July or August in the Gregorian calendar. Tisha B'Av is observed on July 26th.
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