The current time period on the Jewish calendar is known as The Three Weeks, preceeding Tisha B’Av, the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av. The 9th of Av commemorates multiple tragedies throughout Jewish history, including the story of the terrible destruction of Jerusalem and the First Temple, resulting in the subsequent Babylonian Exile in 586 BCE.Expanding on a verse from the Prophet Jeremiah, it is written that, “When the Israelites were exiled to Babylon, the birds and fish were exiled with them. For fifty-two years, not a single bird was seen throughout the entire holy land.” (The Story of Tisha B’Av, English translation by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan). The Three Weeks, known in Hebrew as Bein Ha Mitzarim (literally ‘between the narrow straits’), is a phrase from the Biblical Book of Eicha (Lamentations) which is also believed to have been written by the Prophet Jeremiah.Tisha B’Av is considered by many to be the most solemn day of the Hebrew year, and includes many of customs of mourning. It is a major fast day for Jews, and congregants in synagogues around the world sit on low stools or on the floor as the Book of Eicha is chanted on the eve of Tisha B’Av.