I’m feeling very peaceful today. I went to the mikvah this morning. I was a little nervous, just because official rites of passage can be a little scary. But I knew everyone was going to be super nice and supportive (and they were!).
A camel carrying a load. A golden pair of balanced scales. An open heart and an open mind. These are three of more than two dozen artists' visions of justice and righteousness featured in the invitational exhibition, "Tzedek Boxes: Justice Shall You Pursue."
As Jews, we have the opportunity to celebrate the New Year not once, but several times. The Jewish year has four different New Year celebrations: Rosh HaShanah, Passover, Tu BiShvat, and Elul. Many Jews also celebrate the Gregorian New Year in January. That means we get five opportunities every year to do an accounting of our soul (cheshbon hanefesh) and make resolutions for growth and betterment.
Whether it is a lucky bracelet or a hamsa keychain amulet, superstitions believed to bring good fortune or ward off the bad are almost universal. They are the inspirations for a provocative new art exhibition: Magical Thinking: Superstitions and Other Persistent Notions.
Rabbi Leora Kaye, director of partnerships and collaboration for the Union for Reform Judaism, details the background, symbolism, and importance of the key Seder elements, from the four cups of wine to the welcoming of Elijah.
As I thought about what would be involved if we did our own Tu BiShvat seder, it seemed interesting and fun. Tasting lots of fruits? Marking a time to appreciate, mindfully and respectfully, trees and the earth? Drinking wines and grape juices? Yes, please.
Counting is never more important than between Passover and Shavuot; we call this ritual counting the Omer. Each day we recite a blessing marking that this period of time is meant to be one time of reflection, revelation, and change.
Sometime during the Middle Ages, a Jew in Cairo acknowledged the fact that joy usually comes with a dose of pain, and pain with joy, so they took a bite of that seder concoction, and left its dribblings for me to see in New York.
Reform leaders from North America and the UK share videos to accompany your Passover festivities. Each video is 2-6 minutes long and contains blessings, songs, and insights that perfectly supplement any seder and add a unique element to your celebration.