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Tisha B'Av in Australia

Many Australian Jewish communities observe Tisha B’Av on the ninth day of the month of Av in the Jewish calendar. It is a day of mourning to remember events such as the destruction of the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem. When Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbat (Saturday), it is moved to Sunday, 10th of Av.

Is Tisha B'Av a Public Holiday?

Tisha B'Av is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, August 11, 2019 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in Australia.

Yad and torah

Torah study is forbidden on Tisha B'Av except for sad texts such as the Book of Lamentations.

©iStockphoto.com/Howard Sandler

What Do People Do?

Tisha B’Av is a sad day for many Jewish Australians. It reminds them of the oppression and violence that caused suffering among Jewish people throughout history. There are five activities that are forbidden on Tisha B’Av:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Washing oneself
  • Anointing oneself with oil.
  • Wearing leather shoes.
  • Sexual relations.

Fasting is an important part of Tisha B’Av. Fasting starts at sunset on the night before of Tisha B’Av and ends when night falls. Those who are sick are usually exempt from fasting during Tisha B’Av. Some Jewish Australians do not fast if Tisha B’Av is a Shabbat (resting day). They fast on the next day instead.

Many traditional mourning practices are observed, such as prayers and refraining from smiling, laughing, or wearing new clothing. Torah study is generally thought to bring joy. Therefore those who observe Tisha B’Av are allowed to study only certain portions of the Torah on Tisha B'Av.

The book of Lamentations is read during the evening services at many synagogues. A single light is lit at the pulpit of the synagogue and the parochet (curtain) is removed from the ark during an evening service on Tisha B’Av. However, it is customary to extinguish all synagogue lights and to only light one small lamp in many Sephardi Jewish communities. The ark (cabinet where the Torah is kept) is draped in black.

Public Life

Tisha B’Av is not a public holiday in Australia. However, some Jewish organizations may be closed or have restricted opening hours.

Background

Tisha B’Av, also known as the Jewish Fast of Av, is a period of fasting, lamentation and prayer to remember the destruction of the First and Second Temples of Jerusalem. The Jewish people still continued the fast day even after they rebuilt the First Temple after the Babylonians destroyed it in 586 BCE. The Romans destroyed the Second Temple by burning it in 70 CE and this marked the start of a long exile period for Jewish people. These are two of five sad events or calamities that occurred on the ninth day of the month of Av. The other three were when:

  • Ten of the 12 scouts sent by Moses to Canaan gave negative reports of the area, leading to the Israelites’ despair.
  • The Romans captured the fortress city of Beitar, the last stronghold of the leaders of the Bar Kochba revolt, and thousands of Jewish people, including Bar Kokhba (or Kochba), were massacred in 135 CE.
  • The city of Jerusalem was destroyed in 136 CE.

Tisha B’Av is a sad day that observes other major disasters and tragedies that Jewish people experienced throughout history, including the expulsion of the Jewish people from England in 1290 and from Spain in 1492, as well as the mass deportation of Jewish people from the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II.

Tisha B’Av begins at sunset on the previous day and lasts for more than 24 hours. It is the culmination of a three-week period of mourning. Weddings and other parties are generally not permitted and people refrain from cutting their hair during this period. It is customary to refrain from activities such as eating meat or drinking wine (except on the Shabbat) from the first to the ninth day of Av.

About Tisha B'Av in other countries

Read more about Tisha B'Av.

Tisha B'Av Observances

Note: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010TueJul 20Tisha B'AvJewish holiday 
2011TueAug 9Tisha B'AvJewish holiday 
2012SunJul 29Tisha B'AvJewish holiday 
2013TueJul 16Tisha B'AvJewish holiday 
2014TueAug 5Tisha B'AvJewish holiday 
2015SunJul 26Tisha B'AvJewish holiday 
2016SunAug 14Tisha B'AvJewish holiday 
2017TueAug 1Tisha B'AvJewish holiday 
2018SunJul 22Tisha B'AvJewish holiday 
2019SunAug 11Tisha B'AvJewish holiday 
2020ThuJul 30Tisha B'AvJewish holiday 

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