The ninth day of the Hebrew month Av is a day of great sadness and mourning for the Jewish people. This year the solemn observance will begin at sundown on August 13th. This date marks the destruction of both the First Temple by Nebuchadnezzar and the Second Temple by the Romans. On the same day in 132 AD, there was a great massacre of Jewish people by Roman forces in the crushing of the Bar Kochba revolt.
Other tragic events that happened on or near the 9th of Av include:
• The Jews were expelled from England on July 18, 1290 (Av 9, 5050).
• The Jews were expelled from France on July 22, 1306 (Av 10, 5066).
• The Jews were expelled from Spain on July 31, 1492 (Av 7, 5252).
• On August 2, 1941 (Av 9, 5701), SS commander Heinrich Himmler formally received approval from the Nazi Party for “The Final Solution.” Almost one third of world's Jewish population was captured and killed by the time World War II ended.
• On the July 23, 1942 (Av 9, 5702), the mass deportation of Jews began from the Warsaw Ghetto to the death camps at Treblinka.
• On July 18, 1994 (Av 10, 5754). the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires was bombed, killing 85 and injuring 300.
This is sometimes called the saddest day of the year on the Jewish calendar. Synagogues often read from the book of Lamentations or the book of Job during Tisha B'Av services. In some traditions a Nachem (consolation prayer) like this is part of the service as well: "Console, O Lord, the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and the city laid waste, despised and desolate. In mourning for she is childless, her dwellings laid waste, despised in the downfall of her glory and desolate through the loss of her inhabitants…. Legions have devoured her, worshipers of strange gods have possessed her. They have put the people of Israel to the sword… Therefore let Zion weep bitterly and Jerusalem give forth her voice… For You, O Lord, did consume her with fire and with fire will You in future restore her… Blessed are You, O Lord, Who consoles Zion and builds Jerusalem."
This solemn day of remembrance should be an encouragement to all of us to do more than ever to defend and support God's Chosen People. They have suffered greatly at the hands of those who claimed to be Christians and we need to do everything we can to show them a different message—that true Christians love and care for and support the Jewish people.