Focus on: Tish’a B’av, 27 July

What:  This day marks the conclusion of an annual period of mourning and fasting, known as the Three Weeks. Tish’a B’av falls on the 9th day of the month of Av.

Why:   The 9th of Av marks the destruction of two Holy Temples, the first by the Babylonians in 425 BC, and the second by the Romans in 69 AD. According to scripture, this second date marks the Jews being driven out into the desert and the beginning of their centuries in exile. For this reason, the Three Weeks and Tish’a B’av are the saddest festivals of the Jewish calendar.

How:   During the Three Weeks mourning period, Jews are instructed not to listen to music, buy new clothes, marry or cut their hair. From the first day of Av, observant Jews will not wear freshly washed clothes, eat meat or drink wine. On the evening before Tish’a B’av, people attend Synagogue to hear readings from the Book of Lamentations. The mourning intensifies; until the festival is over, many will abstain from washing, using perfumes or creams, greeting each other, wearing leather shoes or having marital relations. A meal of bread and a boiled egg dipped in ashes is taken alone, sitting on a low stool. The mourning extends until midday on the 10th of Av.

We always love to hear from customers about their own celebrations. Please get in touch if you have observed any of July’s festivals and would like to share stories or photos with us!