Tonight, as the sun sets and the holy day of Tisha B'Av (the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av) begins, the Jewish People will commemorate the greatest tragedy in Jewish history—the destruction of the First and Second Temples. Religious Jews will gather together to mourn the destruction of the Temples and to read the Book of Lamentations aloud in synagogues around the world, as well as at the Kotel (Wailing Wall).
The Old City of Jerusalem, one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities, has been surrounded by walls since ancient times. It has been blockaded, burnt, looted, captured, destroyed and mourned. It also has been prayed for, longed for, rebuilt, rejoiced over, honored and chosen by God as the place for His name to dwell.
During Temple times, music played an essential role in the Temple and was highly developed. Today, music continues to play such a major role in prayer services that a chazzan (cantor) usually leads the congregation in the beautiful, traditional melodic prayers and Bible cantillation (ritual chanting of Bible passages).
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