Tisha B'av (the Ninth of Av), which begins Monday, August 8th (at 8:06pm) and continues on Tuesday, August 9th (at 8:42pm), is the day upon which we remember (and some mourn) the lost Jerusalem Temples. Tradition has suggested as well that the following tragedies occurred on Tisha Be'av: the negative report of the spies in the desert, the fall of Betar (the last holdout of the Jewish people in the Bar Kochba Revolt), the edict for the Spanish expulsion of Jews was issued, and World War I began. Historicity is perhaps less important than meaning here. Tisha B'Av is a day of loss. It is, simply said, a very sad day for the Jewish people. On Tisha B'Av itself, it is traditional to refrain from eating, drinking, bathing, intimacy, wearing leather shoes, and learning Torah (except for topics pertaining to the day).
This year our community will mark Tisha B'Av in the following ways:
1) Erev Tisha B'Av (Monday, Aug. 8): We will meet in the Library of Netivot Shalom at 8:00pm for Ma'ariv and for the Book of Eicha, followed by a few of the Kinot, traditional sad-songs. People should bring flashlights, and prepare to sit on the floor (if possible), as it is a traditional sign of mourning, which Tisha B'Av is for the entire Jewish People. We will say the service, not sing it. The tone for this evening is unique in Jewish tradition - soft, sad, and somber. There is an additional tradition to not reach out to those around us, not even to greet others, sequestering ourselves somehow to alone-ness despite gathering together. It is both magic and painful.
2) Yom Tisha B'Av (Tuesday, Aug. 9): We will be joining together with Congregation Beth Israel for Shacharit starting at 8:00 am at Beth Israel (1630 Bancroft Way, Berkeley), where services will follow the customs of Beth Israel. Following Shacharit and Kinnot there will be a learning session at 10am.
3) Tisha B'Av Minchah at Netivot Shalom (Tuesday, August 9): We will gather at 7:15 pm in the Library of Netivot Shalom for Minchah and Torah Service. Unique to this Minchah Service is the practice of wearing Tallit and Teffilin (traditionally not worn on the morning of the holiday). Minchah marks start of the shift in the somber mood of the day towards Tu B'Av and the seven weeks on consolation.
Tradition teaches us that those who remember the destruction of Jerusalem and feel the brokenness of the world will be part of their rebuilding. May that be so, soon and in our days.