My kids heard that another Jewish holiday was coming up on July 21-22, and it's not a happy one. They wanted to know — what is Tisha B'Av all about, and why are we eating so many veggies lately?
Tisha B’Av, the ninth of the month of Av, is a day of mourning for Jews. It is the day Jews remember the destruction of both Temples that once stood in Jerusalem as well as a number of other tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people over the course of history. Tisha B’Av is a full fast day, so the last meal must be eaten before sunset prior to the ninth of Av. The meal often is comprised of round foods like eggs or lentils, which symbolize mourning in Jewish tradition because they evoke the cycle of life. Additionally, nine days prior to the holiday, traditional Jews do not eat meat, cut their hair, or wash their clothes unless they are to be worn again during the nine days.
Similar to Yom Kippur, in addition to abstaining from food or drink during Tisha B’Av, Jewish tradition also mandates refraining from wearing leather, washing one’s body, and using perfume or other such ointments. Traditional Jews do not get married or celebrate other joyous festivities in these three weeks. All these actions are considered signs of joy or luxury inappropriate for this time of mourning.
I mentioned earlier that we eat lots of veggies during the nine days leading up to Tisha B’Av. Here are a few examples of veggie recipes you can make whether or not you celebrate Tisha B'Av: