Image: Photo of the archaeological park beside the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Notice the broken pavement at the lower right corner of the photo – that’s where the stones from the Temple were hurled to the pavement below by the Roman soldiers. Structures above are from the Byzantine period or later, but the pavement is from the 1st century CE. Photo by Rabbi Ruth Adar.

Sundown on 23 July begins the month of Av for 5777.

Av is the saddest, unluckiest month of the Jewish year. It has that distinction because it is the month in which the 9th of Av, Tisha B’Av, falls. That’s the day we remember the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem – twice! – and many other disasters in Jewish history. I have several articles about Tisha B’Av already on this site:

For a more comprehensive take on the observance, try these:

This year I will observe Tisha B’Av by participating in a service that will focus on criminal justice reform in the United States, along with Reform CA and clergy from around the SF Bay Area. It will take place Monday, July 31 from 7-10 pm at Congregation Beth El in Berkeley, CA.

The time between the first and the ninth of Av is a particularly solemn time in the Jewish calendar. I invite you to take the next ten days to learn about the observance of Tisha B’Av and to think about how you might want to observe the day. You might want to make a very traditional fast, and listen to the book of Lamentations at a synagogue, or you might want to take a less traditional approach. It’s up to you.

Whatever you choose, I wish you a growth-full month of Av.