Today is a solemn day on the Jewish calender, that also marks the beginning of a three week period of mourning for our Holy Temple (Soloman's Temple, in the world history books). This three week period ends on the 9th of Av, the day in which the final destruction of the Temple occurred.
Unlike many historic events recorded in history books, the loss of our Holy Temple, the Beis HaMikdash, is something we remember on a daily basis, and is an integral part of our very existence. Our goal as a people, and individually is to rebuild our Holy Temple, both physically and spiritually. Unfortunately it's not so simple, so just know, that when the Beis HaMikdash is rebuilt, that means major changes have occurred in the world! We await these changes with great anticipation and longing.Today is a "minor" fast day, (sunrise to sunset) observed by most men, many women who are able, (namely those without small children, or for whom fasting would not compromise their ability to take care of their families) and boys and girls over the age of 13 and 12 respectively. During this three week period of mourning, no weddings are held, we obstain from listening to music or playing musical instruments, no hair cuts are given and we avoid doing anything that might be considered dangerous, like swimming in the ocean or rapid rivers. During the last nine days of this period, the mourning intensifies and among other things, we do not eat meat or drink wine, and there are restrictions on laundering and wearing freshly laundered clothing.
The mosaic depicting the Beis HaMikdash is not only a wonderfully creative use of mosaic as a medium, it is also happens to be a very true to life representation of where we are standing now! We are a fragmented and varied People dispersed amongst more than eighty countries around the world—a very diverse group who nonetheless has the potential to come together as a People for the benefit of the entire world. Each and every one of us can and should do our part (you'll have to figure that one out on your own!) to bring this day closer.