Tisha b’Av, the day we mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples, seems especially sad this year as we witness worldwide violence and political upheaval. It also falls on July 31, which coincides with the official expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492.
This somber mood reaches all the way into the kitchen. Although we Jews usually celebrate our holidays with festive foods and big meals, Tisha b’Av is a fast day. Dinner the evening before is meat-free and simple, and beyond that, out of respect, for Nine Days before the fast, we eat fish or vegetarian meals.