The 9th day of Av (Tisha B’Av) is a day of national Jewish mourning as it is also the anniversary of some of the of most tragic events to befall our people. Below is a list of major tragedies that occurred or began on this date.
1312 BCE – After the exodus from Egypt the Jewish people headed towards Mt Sinai where they received the Torah and the 10 Commandments. Following that event they prepared for their journey towards the Holy Land. Moses sent spies to investigate the best method for reconquering Israel (as it had been occupied by the commonwealth of Canaanite tribes while the Jewish people were enslaved in Egypt). The spies returned from 40 days in Israel with terrible reports of the Land of Israel leading to the Jewish people crying out in despair and giving up hope of entering the Land of Israel.
421 BCE – The First Temple of the Jewish people (the Beit Hamikdash) built by King Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonians under the leadership of Nebuchadnezar. About 100,000 Jews were killed during the Babylonian invasions and sieges. The survivors were exiled to Babylon and Persia.
70 CE – The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans led by Titus. Over 2,500,000 Jews died as a result of war, famine and disease, and more than 1,000,000 Jews were exiled to all parts of the Roman Empire. Over 100,000 Jews sold as slaves by Romans including children as sex slaves. Prominent Jewish leaders and sages were killed and tortured in gladiatorial “games” and pagan celebrations.
132 CE – A revolt by Bar Kochba and his armies against the Romans in hope of retaking Jerusalem and re-establishing a Jewish country was crushed and the capital city of the movement, Betar, destroyed – over 100,00 were killed.
133 CE – The Roman general Turnus Rufus ploughed the site of the Temple so as to remove any further Jewish connection to the site. The Romans then built the pagan city of Aelia Capitolina on site of Jerusalem.
1095 CE – The First Crusade declared by Pope Urban II. 10,000 Jews were killed in first month of the Crusade. The Crusades bring death and destruction to thousands of Jews and totally obliterate many communities in Rhineland and France.
1290 CE – The Jews of England were expelled, accompanied by pogroms and confiscation of books, assets, money and property.
1306 CE – The Jews of France were expelled and assets confiscated.
1492 CE – The Spanish Inquisition culminates in the expulsion of the Jews from the Iberian Peninsula. Families separated, many die by drowning, massive loss of property. Jews who dare to remain behind are ‘encouraged’ to convert to Christianity via torturous means. Remaining Jews are derogatorily called Morano’s.
1914 – Germany declared war on Russia, and that afternoon Russia declared war on Germany. With the war on Germany, Russia declares war on its own Jews with massive deportations, tens of thousands of Jewish hostages, and bloody army-organized pogroms along the entire front line. The first 20th-century genocide resulted in more than 300,000 Jewish civilian deaths.
1941 – SS commander Heinrich Himmler formally received approval from the Nazi Party for the Final Solution. As a result, the Holocaust began during with almost one third of the world’s Jewish population killed.
1942 – The Warsaw Ghetto began to be liquidated and the first transportations of Jews to the Treblinka concentration camp.
1994 – The deadly bombing the building of the AMIA (the Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina) which killed 86 people and wounded some 300 others.
May we experience countless festivals on the Tisha B’Av’s to come.