Note: We generally will use Wikipedia to outline the Jewish holidays in broad strokes because it’s edited pretty well by Jewish historical and religious experts. Then, we add our own insight into the holidays for different Jewish markets and groups. Finally, we tie these overviews all together and provide expertise on how to best benefit from the Jewish holidays.
The Nine Days is a religious observance in Judaism that takes place during the first nine days of the Jewish month of Av (corresponding to July/August). The Nine Days begin on Rosh Chodesh Av (“First of Av”) and culminates on the public fast day of Tisha B’Av (“Ninth of Av”).
The Nine Days are part of a larger period of time known as The Three Weeks, which begin with the public fast day of the Seventeenth of Tammuz and end with the public fast day of Tisha B’Av — when the Babylonians finally destroyed the First Temple and when the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans. Many more current tragedies and calamities that befell the Jewish people at this time include the destruction of both Temples, the expulsion of the Jews from Spain on Tisha B’Av 1492, and the outbreak of World War I on Tisha B’Av 1914, which overturned many Jewish communities. The Nine Days are considered an inauspicious time, fraught with danger even in our day and age.
During the entire Three Weeks, certain activities are forbidden to Jews by Jewish law in order to decrease joy and inspire mourning over the destruction of Temple. The Talmud says, “When the month of Av begins, we [i.e. Jews] reduce our joy.
Levels of mourning
The mourning observances during the Three Weeks are divided into four levels, increasing in intensity:
- From the Seventeenth of Tammuz until the end of Tammuz
- From Rosh Chodesh Av until the week in which Tisha B’Av falls
- The week in which Tisha B’Av falls
- Tisha B’Av itself
During the entire Three Weeks, Jews refrain from making weddings, playing or listening to music, and shaving or taking haircuts. During the Nine Days, additional activities are forbidden by Jewish law because they bring one to joy:
- Home improvements, painting and new construction
- Planting trees, flowers or grass
- Laundering clothes, towels, tablecloths and bed linens
- Wearing new or freshly laundered clothing
- Making or buying new clothes, towels, tablecloths and bed linens
- Eating meat or poultry
- Drinking wine or grape juice
- Bathing for pleasure (i.e., one may not take a hot shower or bath, but may use cold water to remove dirt and sweat)
- Swimming for health or exercise
How To Benefit From The Nine Days
This time of the year, there aren’t many ways to benefit in the clearest sense of the word. However, there are ways to “fill the void” left in the community when they adhere to restrictions:
Don’t think Nine Days. Think Pre-High Holidays.
- The Nine Days and the joyous Tu B’Av (to be blogged later) shouldn’t be perceived as a business/lost opportunity time, but more like a pre-High Holiday planning time. Start campaigning now for High Holiday travel and foods. If you’re a Synagogue/Temple, make a push for Tisha B’Av programming that can help drive people back for the High Holidays. Fundraise for Tisha B’Av and people will remember your organization when Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur roll around. Overall, it’s a great time to take a break and assess your marketing and sales techniques for the High Holidays during this time and drive sales for the future, not just the present.
Dairy, Dairy, Seafood, Dairy
- People have to eat and with restrictions on eating meat and drinking wine, dairy foods and seafoods come to the resuce. If you’re a kosher dairy or seafood restaurant, get the word out about your restaurant. Dairy food manufacturers should be promoting their products to the Jewish market around this time. It’s a great time to do a marketing push now in anticipation for the High Holidays. If you’re a meat restaurant, don’t close up shop yet – now’s a great time to experiment with a seafood menu or vegatarian menu for nine days and see how it goes with your steady customers.
No Ticket, No Laundry
- Well, there’s certainly no laundry for Nine Days at least. For dry cleaners who thrive on the Jewish market (we clean suits religiously due to Shabbat every week), get a Nine Days Special going, maybe a coupon offer if bringing in all their clothes before AND after the Nine Days.
Even in times as dismal as the Three Weeks and Nine Days, there’s opportunities out there to help build your brand and promote your message to the Jewish community!
Up Next: Jewish Holidays – Tu B’Av – The Jewish Valentine’s Day