The ninth of Av, or Tisha B’av, is a major day of mourning in Judaism that involves fasting. It’s the culmination of a three-week period of mourning, and is often regarded as the saddest day in the religion. It commemorates several tragedies throughout early Jewish history—specifically the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem (586 B.C. and A.D. 70). The holiday originated in the first century A.D.
This year, Tisha B’av begins at sundown Wednesday, July 26, and ends Thursday night, July 27.
Many people will spend this day:
In Israel, many people gather at the Western Wall, the ruins of the Second Temple.
One of the main themes to focus on with Tisha B’av is that evil exists in the world, whether we want it to or not. How can we make the world a kinder, more welcoming place for everyone? What can you do, either alone or with your family, to give back in a meaningful way?
You might notice that Tisha B’av shares similar prohibitions with Yom Kippur, as it’s the only other day in Judaism when there is a 25 hour fast. Tisha B’av, however, is a day of mourning whereas Yom Kippur is a holiday that is mandated in the Torah.
Dr. Shaul Magid, a Professor of Jewish Studies and practicing rabbi, explains that these two days “seem to present two opposite states of mind.” During Yom Kippur, we focus on atonement and making amends for sins from the past year. With Tisha B’av, however, it is really about reflecting on the suffering of the Jewish people.
Here are the dates of Tisha B’av 2023–2026 (sunset to sunset):