Tishah B’Av, observed on the 9th (tishah) of the Hebrew month of Av, is a day of mourning the destruction of both ancient Temples in Jerusalem. In contrast to traditional streams of Judaism, liberal Judaism never has assigned a central religious role to the ancient Temple. Therefore, mourning the destruction of the Temple may not be particularly meaningful to liberal Jews. In modern times, Jews understand Tishah B’Av as a day to remember many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people throughout history.
Traditionally, Tishah B’Av is the darkest of all days, a time set aside for fasting and mourning the destruction of both ancient Temples in Jerusalem.
For most liberal Jews, Tishah B’Av has faded in importance as a ritual observance, as the rebuilding of a central Temple in Jerusalem has lost its priority and significance in modern times. Although historians dispute the fact that both Temples were destroyed on this day, Tishah B’Av has become a symbol of Jewish suffering and loss. Over the centuries, other tragic events have come to be commemorated on this day, including the brutal massacres of the Crusades, the Jewish expulsion from Spain, and the Holocaust. Today, Tishah B’Av stands as a day to reflect on the suffering that still occurs in our world.