Thousands gather at Western Wall for annual fast
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Photo essay

Thousands gather at Western Wall for annual fast

Jews in Israel and around the world mourn the destruction of Jerusalem and other calamities

  • Praying, fasting and mourning the Temple's destruction on the Ninth of Av, Tisha B'Av. (Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
    Praying, fasting and mourning the Temple's destruction on the Ninth of Av, Tisha B'Av. (Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
  • A woman and girl making their way to the Kotel on the ninth of Av (photo credit: Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
    A woman and girl making their way to the Kotel on the ninth of Av (photo credit: Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
  • A glimpse of the men's section through the fence (photo credit: Nicole Levin/TImes of Israel)
    A glimpse of the men's section through the fence (photo credit: Nicole Levin/TImes of Israel)
  • At the Kotel on Tisha B'Av (photo credit: Zach Jacobson)
    At the Kotel on Tisha B'Av (photo credit: Zach Jacobson)
  • A man laying down as he recites Lamentations on the ninth of Av, at the Western Wall (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90)
    A man laying down as he recites Lamentations on the ninth of Av, at the Western Wall (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90)
  • Putting a hand to the stones at the Kotel (photo credit: Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
    Putting a hand to the stones at the Kotel (photo credit: Leeor Bronis/Times of Israel)
  • Taking a rest while praying through the night (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash 90)
    Taking a rest while praying through the night (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash 90)

At sunset on July 15, the start of the fast of the Ninth of Av, the city of Jerusalem mostly shut down to mourn the destruction of the first and second Jewish temples. Stores and entertainment venues closed, and the streets around the Old City were blocked off and hushed as Jerusalem Jews joined their brethren around the world and began the sunset-to-sunset fast.

The Western Wall on Monday night was alive, as thousands flocked to the Wailing Wall Plaza to recite the evening prayers and listen to the Book of Eicha, or Lamentations, which tells of the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonian Empire in the 6th century BCE.

Aside from marking the destruction of the temples, Tisha B’Av also marks other tragedies endured by the Jewish people that are said to have occurred on the same day, such as the expulsion edict from Spain in 1492 and the beginning of the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942.

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