Tisha B'Av, the Fast of the Ninth [of the Hebrew month] of Av, will begin on Monday night, August 8th, before sundown (at appr. 19:30 in Israel) and end the following night. The fast is the end of the "Three Weeks" period of mourning for the destruction of the two Holy Temples in Jerusalem.
The Sabbath preceding the fast is called Shabbat "Chazon," after the first word of Isaiah I, the chapter read in the synagogue that morning to the mournful tune of Megillat Eicha, the elegy written by the prophet Jeremiah as he witnessed the First Temple's destruction.
According to the Talmud and in the words of the Prophets who exhorted the Jews to repent, the First Temple was destroyed because the Jewish people did not keep the most basic tenets of Judaism and continued to woship idols, shed innocent blood and behave immorally.
The Second Temple however, say theTalmudic sages, was destroyed because of baseless hatred between one Jew and another. Israel's first Chief Rabbi, Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, wrote that unconditional love of Israel and its people, can rebuild it and the nation as a whole.
Programs planned for the fast day, in Israel and in the United States, reflect internalization of Rabbi Kook's credo.
Arutz Sheva brings you a sample from both sides of the ocean:
The Women in Green:
The Women in Green have been walking around the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem for 17 years on the night of the 9th of Av. This year, Jerusalem police tried to convince them to change their traditional route in order not to walk near the Damascus Gate and Sultan Suleiman Street because it is the month of Ramadan, when Arabs fill the streets at nightfall in those spots.
Women in Green leaders Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover insisted on keeping the yearly tradition and declared that they were not willing to change the route. In the compromise that was reached, the police will allow the walk to take place as usual, but later in the evening (starting at 11:00 p.m.), after the Arabs will have finished their Ramadan festivities in Sultan Suleiman street.
The Women in Green call upon all to come Monday night to the prayer and march, with their families and friends, despite the change in time, thereby showing loyalty to a united Jerusalem and to the Land of Israel and a yearning for the building of the Third Temple
At 9:45 p.m. there will be a reading of the Scroll of Eicha opposite the American Consulate in Jerusalem, on Agron Street, followed by speakers Rabbi Mordechai Rabinovitch, MK Professor Arieh Eldad, MK Dr Michael Ben Ari, Prof. Paul Eidelberg and publicist-writer Ezra Yachin of Lehi.
At 11:00 p.m. the walk will begin from the US Consulate passing by the New Gate, Damascus Gate, Herod's Gate, Lion's Gate and concluding at the Dung Gate, near the Kotel.
Participants are urged to bring family and friends along with a Megillat Eicha, flashlight and Israeli flag. Egged buses will be available all through the night to bring people back to Jaffa Gate.
Tel Aviv and 25 Centers: "On This Night We do not Study Torah"
It is traditional not to study Torah texts on Tish'a B'Av, as that study is joyful and the day is one of deep mourning. Restaurants and places of entertainment are closed in Israel. This makes it a perfect opportunity for encouraging discussion between groups that seldom meet.
And so, as they have for the past twelve years, Tel Aviv residents, secular and religious, will meet at Rabin Square for a program named for that rabbinic injunction, that starts with the Eicha reading and continues with discussions of the meaning of the destruction of the Temples and the implications for Jewish history, nationalism, and unity.
Begun as an effort to bring Israelis closer together after the shock of Prime Minister Yitschak Rabin's murder, the program now takes place in 25 spots around the country, with hundreds filling each event - secular, national-religious and hareidi-religious.
"Hineni" for Gilad Shalit
The documentary focuses on the efforts of Israeli Staff Sargeant Gilad Shalit's family to publicize his plight and secure his release.
AFSI: Outdoor Prayer Service for Jews in Danger Worldwide
On Tuesday, August 9th, at 2 p.m., the proactive Zionist organization will hold its 34th annual outdoor traditional mincha [afternoon] prayer service, complete with Torah reading, led by Rabbi Avi Weiss, across from the United Nations, at 1st Avenue and 43rd Street, at the Isaiah Peace Wall.
The event is jointly sponsored by Amcha-Coalition for Jewish Concerns, Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry and Americans for a Safe Israel.
AFSI published the following invitation: "Hamas, Hizbullah and their terror rockets. Iran and the Bomb. Flotillas, Flytillas. Anti-Israel boycotts. The UN on the verge of endorsing a PLO-Hamas state. The sixth anniversary of the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif. Attacks on and threats against Jews in Europe, the former USSR and Latin America. Jews in Ethiopia still yearning to reach Israel. Vulnerable children in our own Jewish community.
"There's much to pray for this Tisha B'Av.
"For those outside the NY area, please alert your NY friends and family about this opportunity to join with other concerned Jews in expressing your concern for Israel, America and world Jewry. Also, those who are unable to join us because of geographical distances might consider holding a similar prayer service in your community."
Participants are asked to bring a prayerbook; and men are requested to bring tallit and tefilin, which are worn in the afternoon service rather than in the morning of the fast.
Arutz Sheva adds: May these plans be interrupted by the coming of the Mashiach!