Exemption from Fasting in a Hot Climate
Are there any blanket exemptions for fasting in certain geographic locations for safety? I just moved to a very hot climate where constant hydration is necessary for survival. I naively thought I could fast like normal. Turns out fasting is not only difficult; it is dangerous. Staying sufficiently hydrated does not only require drinking but also some eating, I have been advised by locals familiar with the climate. Because I am so new, I have not met the Jewish community yet. There was a public fast day on just my second full day here (17 Taamuz) and I was overcome by the heat and found I had no choice but to break the fast for dear life. I was literally ready to pass out and my non-Jewish colleagues thought I was crazy fasting. The only Jew I have met here so far told me she never fasts even on Yom Kippur because she feels it’s too dangerous.
Tisha B’Av is coming up in a few short weeks and I will be faced with the same predicament, but for a 25 hour fast. I plan to live here for many years, perhaps the rest of my life, and it seems as if now fasting is impossible in this climate. I had this problem even though I am young and generally in good health.