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Posts Tagged ‘Jewish holidays’

Is Esther a Good Jewish Role Model?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Time and time again we look at Esther and ask if we should tell our kids to be more like Esther. After all, she married out of her faith and lied to her husband. So, is she actually a good role model? You’ll have to watch this video to hear the answer.

Tu Bishvat for Today’s World

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Happy Tu Bishvat everyone!!  It’s the birthday of the trees - the day we celebrate and contemplate the trees and growing things around us…Yes, we have a day for that.  It’s one of the few days that has no controversy surrounding it - there’s no historical issue - no revisionist propaganda -  no one who could argue that this is hurting someone or based in a racist philosophy or demands archeological proof that there were really trees in the ancient world.  We simply celebrate trees and the fruit or nuts they produce… oh oh, I said it…the word that brings shakes and quivers to the culinary industry…the word that makes every parent pale when it’s mentioned and causes stressful conversations before play dates…yes, the dreaded word - NUTS.

So to be politically correct, let’s agree to have a nut free Tu Bishvat.  But can we sing songs about nuts?  The first Tu Bishvat song I ever learned was ‘Hashkaidiyah Porachat’ (The Almond Tree is Blooming) and I made hand motions and pretended to be an almond tree.  Maybe all the kids who want to sing the almond song should be allowed to do so in the school office.

Though I understand that there are growing fruit allergies present in children as well.  Now we’re going to have to celebrate Tu Bishvat without fruit and nuts.  Um, gee, I think the only politically correct way to celebrate the birthday of the trees is with cake (nutfree of course).

Oh well, it’s tough being a Jew.


What to do on Shavuot When You’re Lactose Intolerant

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

It’s always a challenge to look past the dairy piece of Shavuot especially if you have an intolerance to the food group. But Rachael explains what you can do to celebrate the holiday without eating dairy food.


Not my average weekend

Monday, February 1st, 2010

My weekends are often spent catching up on sleep, running errands and socializing with friends. This weekend, I decided to change it up a bit.

Shabbat Shalom

Shabbat Shalom

Following a wonderful Shabbat pot luck dinner with friends, I woke up early and headed up north to cottage country.  I was thrilled to be among great friends, the peace of the wilderness and it was an added bonus that we celebrated Tu Bishvat together. On Shabbat we ate 15 species of fruit and grains that had different levels of edibility (edible skin, edible pit, inedible skin, inedible pit) which acts as a metaphor for different personality types and we blessed  four cups of wine representative of the seasons.      I was inaccessible via phone, there was no Facebook activity and we were treated with 20+ centimetres of snow.  While I often complain that I have chosen to settle in such a climate, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to wear snowpants, sled down the driveway and catch snowflakes on my tongue. It helped that I was among young children and toddlers.

Jewish Holidays

Showered with snow

Jewish BeliefsSeasons are important. They force us into different clothing, they encourage us to participate in exciting activities and they help instill an appreciation for our surroundings and our religious observances and celebrations.

Tu Bishvat - It’s Inevitable

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Tu Bishvat is right around the corner - this weekend to be exact.  I’m watching the snow fall and the temperature hover around -15C and I can’t say I’m in a very ‘happy birthday trees’ mood.

This week alone I had 3 of my children home with the flu and my husband suspected every tickle in his nose… Last night I got an email from my sons’ school informing us that within 5 days they will be moving downtown creating a 1.5 hour commute (one way) for my sons - 3 hours every day back and forth.  To deal with this I needed to cancel one of the ongoing Mussar groups that meets weekly.  Half my office is heated while the other half has a less efficient system so ultimately right now we can choose to sit in a t-shirt or file papers in our coats and mitts - ok, maybe not that bad but it feels that bad…

Anyone wishing a tree a happy birthday yet?

And then I realized how easy it is to just put off the Jewish stuff.  It’s only trees, right?  I mean, Rosh Hashannah, Yom Kippur, Pesach - that’s major Jewishness, but trees??  How easy to just lose myself in fixing vents, finding schools and chicken souping a cold.  But ultimately, I don’t want to choose being the person who copes and bandaids.

Being Jewish in every moment means I can choose meaning over chores.  Not to say I won’t fix the vents or find the schools but now I am motivated to do that so I get them out of the way because understanding Tu Bishvat, celebrating nature and trees, reminding myself of my place within the whole - that’s way beyond the chicken soup.

So on Tu Bishvat I will indeed stand outside, heavily layered in winter clothing, lean on a tree, close my eyes and think of Torah and Trees of Knowledge and Trees of Life. Genesis clearly tells us that within hours of creation, we headed to a tree and changed the world forever.  We’re forever connected to the trees, it’s probably worth a thought one day a year.

Have a great Tu Bishvat!

Some Tu B’Shevat Insights for You

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010