The fast of Tisha B’Ab, which is observed by Jews throughout the world in commemoration of the destruction of the First and Second Temples, begins at sundown tonight and ends at sundown tomorrow. Besides abstaining from food, Orthodox Jews will observe the fast by special services in the synagogues tonight and tomorrow morning. The reading of the Book of Lamentations, the authorship of which is attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, known as “the great Lamenter,” is the principal feature of the service.
By a peculiar coincidence, to which the pious attach special significance, the destruction of the First Temple, which marked the downfall of the first Jewish Commonwealth and the destruction of the Second Temple, which brought the Second Commonwealth to an end, occurred on the ninth day of the month of Ab. The First Temple was destroyed by the Chaldean monarch Nebuchadnezzar in the year 586 B.C. and the Second by the Romans under Titus in the year 70 of the Christian era.
It has become a custom to make contributions on this fast day to philanthropic causes and to Jewish educational institutions. Special Tisha B’Ab services will be conducted in the Jewish religious schools affiliated with the Jewish Education Association and the Book of Lamentations will be recited by the children.