Religious : : Religious Committee Report

As we look at our January calendar, we have to go to the end of the month to find a Jewish holiday. On Thursday, January 28, we celebrate Tu BiShvat, known as Jewish Arbor Day and the New Year of the Trees.

On my last trip to Israel four years ago, the first thing we did after arriving was go to a park where we each planted a tree. I had never done that before on my previous trips to Israel. It was exciting, thrilling. As I was growing up (along with the State of Israel), the planting of trees in Israel was emphasized and an imperative, a matter of survival for the country, to renew the land, to make the land productive. Every year in Sunday School and Hebrew School we were encouraged to plant a tree in Israel for Tu BiShvat. Throughout the year as kids, we brought change to put in the Tzedakah box on the teacher’s desk that was dedicated to planting trees in Israel. The idea of planting trees in Israel remains essential in my mind.

Think of all the wonderful and necessary things we get from trees – fruit, nuts, olives (I don’t know what I would do without olive oil!). Among the fruits are grapes for the wine we drink in all rituals and on Shabbat and holidays.

As has become a tradition here at Temple Judea, we will have a Tu BiShvat Seder where we drink four cups of wine and eat a variety of fruits and nuts in a ritual meal. This Seder, like our wonderful Sephardic Rosh Hashanah Seder, will be via Zoom after Shabbat services on Saturday, January 30. We thank our Rebbetzen, Sima Linson, for planning and putting this together and for preparing the Seder plates and foods. All you need to do to join us is make your paid reservation through the office, pick up your Seder package on Friday and then join us on Shabbat so we can enjoy the Seder together.

We look forward to sharing the Tu BiShvat Seder together. Please join us on Zoom for Shabbat, January 30, and eve- ry Shabbat evening and morning service via Zoom. We would love to “see” you there. We wish you good health and happiness in 2021.

Sandy Shapiro & Arnold Miller