Holidays

Blessings of “K’ilu”

Posted on April 7, 2020

“In every generation we must see ourselves as if we personally went forth from Egypt…”   (The Haggadah)   Until now, I have never fully appreciated the significance of these two little words, “as if.” In Hebrew, one word suffices to say this, and that word is “k’ilu.”Children seem to understand innately the possibilities of k’ilu. Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: We Need Seder

Posted on April 3, 2020

Seder means “order” in Hebrew, and on Passover it refers to the order of the service we conduct to relive the journey from bondage to freedom. This year as we prepare for Passover we are out of order, or, as we say in Hebrew, we are lo b’seder, we are not okay. Just a few Continue Reading »

Why We Need Purim – Especially Now!

Posted on March 9, 2020

Our tradition teaches: “When Adar arrives, joy increases.” But this year, it is all too obvious that joy has become increasingly elusive with each passing day of Adar leading up to tonight’s celebration of Purim. Instead of joy, anxiety has increased as we have watched the spread of the coronavirus (thankfully, not significantly in New Continue Reading »

Living with the Broken Tablets

Posted on September 15, 2019

The High Holy Days span the period of forty days from Rosh Chodesh Elul to Yom Kippur. According to our tradition, this corresponds to the forty days Moses spent atop Mount Sinai receiving the second set of Tablets. Little has been passed down to us about what was happening down below among the people while Continue Reading »

Retelling Our Story

Posted on March 8, 2019

Did you know that Pesach is the most-observed Jewish holiday in North America? Family and friends gather around the table to retell the ancient story of our people’s liberation from bondage and journey into freedom. We beautify our tables with ritual objects and special settings that we use just for Passover. We prepare delicious food, Continue Reading »

Purim Reminds Us: It Is Good to Have Allies

Posted on March 8, 2019

Purim is coming, with all its joy and festivity. We will dress up, sing songs, eat hamantaschen, drink wine (as tradition dictates), and celebrate with gusto. A good time will be had by all! It is important to remember, however, that the reason for all this frivolity is the story recounted in the megillah of Continue Reading »

Let’s Speak for the Trees!

Posted on January 9, 2019

This month, we celebrate Tu BiShvat, Jewish Arbor Day, also known as chag ha-ilanot, the Birthday of the Trees, or New Year of the Trees. Tu BiShvat falls on January 21 this year, and our joyful TBE celebration will be held on Saturday, January 26. Because Tu BiShvat falls in the middle of our winter Continue Reading »

Winter — The Warmest Season

Posted on January 9, 2019

The unpredictable weather pattern engulfing the Hillsborough metropolitan area has everyone wondering what’s coming next. We went from a “one day tee shirt, next day parka” autumn to a November blizzard to a 65-degree first day of winter. The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting heavier than normal snowfall. And who knows what Punxsutawney Phil will Continue Reading »

Chanukah, O Chanukah, Come Light the Menorah!

Posted on November 13, 2018

Chanukah, the Festival of Lights (chag ha-urim), comes to illumine our homes and give us a spiritual and emotional lift during the dark days of winter. Chanukah celebrations include lighting the chanukiah, the special eight-branchmenorah, each night; eating foods fried in oil, such as latkes (l’vivot) and jelly doughnuts (sufganiyot); singing songs; playing games, especially Continue Reading »

Mai Thanksgiving? What is Thanksgiving?

Posted on November 13, 2018

If the Talmud had a tractate on the holiday of Thanksgiving, it would likely begin like this: “Mai Thanksgiving?” What is Thanksgiving? What is its meaning? What is its purpose? So, what is Thanksgiving? Is it merely an opportunity to gather with family and friends to eat too much turkey and stuffing, maybe watch football, Continue Reading »