The Fast of Gedaliah, or Tzom Gedaliah
This fast day is observed on the day following Rosh Hashanah to commemorate the assassination of Gedaliah the son of Achikam, governor of Israel who had been appointed by Nevuchadnetzar, king of Babylon after their conquest of Israel.
When the Babylonian exile commenced, many of the Jews were killed and most of the remainder were driven to exile. Gedaliah was appointed governor and a trickle of Jews started to return to Israel and tend to the vineyards in relative peace and quiet. Unfortunately, it was too good to be true and this respite was ended by Baalis, king of Ammon who was disturbed and hostile to the Jewish remnant left in the Israel. He sent a Jew, Yishmael ben Netanyah, to assassinate Gedaliah. Loyal followers of Gedaliah tried to warn him of this, but he refused to believe the verity of this information, claiming that it was slander. Yishmael did murder Gedaliah, and the remaining Jews fled to Egypt.
Thus the surviving remnant of Jews in Israel was dispersed and the land remained desolate.
The fast is observed from daybreak until the stars appear at night.
In the prayer of Shachrit amidah, the cantor recites the prayer “Aneinu”. A Sefer Torah is withdrawn from the ark, the Thirteen Divine Attributes are said and “VaYechal” is read from the Torah (Shmot 32:14 and 34: 1-10).