Tzom Gedaliah: Is to commemorate the murder of Gedaliah ben Achikam, who was appointed Governor of the remaining Jews in Israel, after the exile by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar (who had destroyed the First Holy Temple).  Gedaliah was murdered by Yishmael ben Netaniah, commissioned by the King of Ammon, a neighboring country that was striving for control over the Land of Israel against the Jews and the Babylonians. As a result, the final traces of Jewish sovereignty in the Holy Land were destroyed, many more thousands of Jews were slain or driven into exile.  While the Jewish people have seen many righteous people die in our days, after the death of Gedaliah, the Land of Israel was devoid of Jews.  Israel remained without Her Jewish people until the rebuilding of the Second Temple (Beit Hamikdash) 70 years later.

The Fast of Gedaliah is observed on the third day of Tishrei, the day after Rosh HaShanah. When Rosh HaShanah falls on Thursday and Friday, the fast is postponed until Sunday (which would be the fourth of Tishrei).  The fast begins at sunset and ends at sunset. The Selichot is recited during the morning prayers. Passages are recited on the concepts of Teshuvah (repentance), G-d’s acceptance of repentance.

Healthy adults and children over thirteen (B’nai Mitzvahs) are required to fast (no eating or drinking) from sunset (Sunday the 12th) until sunset (Monday 13th). Pregnant and nursing women and others whose health would be adversely affected are exempted from the Jewish holiday fast.