More Shabbat Home Celebrations in 2014

Safed CandlesA Shabbat Sign

I don’t really spend days seeking signs. But when a sign presents itself . . .

In December, I made the commitment to light Shabbat candles more regularly in 2014. I was missing the warmth and the light they shed on our lives – and I was missing the weekly ritual that reminded me of earlier times. Raising our girls. At camp. As a child myself.

So when our niece and her hubby gave us this exquisite pair of candles they had gotten for us in Safed, along with a match holder unlike anything I’ve ever seen, it was a clear sign.

More important for me – I love having family around us, even if they can’t be physically present. Our candlesticks are from my great-grandmother. Our challah covers were handmade with love – the needlepoint by my college roommate and an exquisite knitted one from a dear friend. The mishmash of Kiddush cups come from a variety of places, all of which hold good memories.

Now, we can add to the list our pomegranate motif match box. Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like this. Plus, because it’s sparkly, it will definitely delight our little grandsons!

Curious about other ways to ramp up Shabbat celebrations in your home? Check out our Shabbat e-guide, now 40% off. Just $2.99.

For the last Shabbat of 2013, we SKYPED Shabbat with our grandsons. It’s almost as magical as being there. We describe that, along with other wonderful, family-friendly ways to bring Shabbat home, in “Celebrate Shabbat: How to Create Joyful Home Traditions.”

Getting in the Tu B’Shevat Mood

Thanks so much to Hannah A. who suggested that we send pre-holiday reminders two weeks ahead. In 2014, we’ll be doing just that in our weekly blog posts.

And Hannah, watch your inbox. I’m going to be thanking you personally, too!

Tu B'Shevat clock

Since Tu B’Shevat celebrates the season when the sap begins to rise in trees in Israel, you can plan any level of festivity that works for you, from outdoor meanderings to culinary extravaganzas to arts-and-crafts parties.

Next week, we’ll give specific, easy ideas to explore. If you’re eager to get a jump on what would work well for you, check out our Tu B’Shevat Pinterest page.

For now, try your hand at this quickie quiz:

1. Tu B’Shevat is called the Jewish New Year for what?
A. Trees
B. Farm animals
C. Torah

2. Another name for Tu B’Shevat is:
A. Festival of Booths
B. Jewish Arbor Day
C. Winter Festival

3. What is associated with both Hanukkah and Tu B’Shevat?
A. Menorah
B. Olives
C. Figs

4. In Israel, what happens to trees starting on the 15th of Shevat?

A. The new sap starts to rise
B. Birds start building their spring nests
C. Trees die to make room for new ones

5. Which of the following ripens earliest in Israel?

A. Apple (tapuach)
B. Orange (tapuz)
C. Almond (shkediah)

 6. What are some holiday-related activities for  Tu B’Shevat?

A. Plant a tree in Israel through the Jewish National Fund
B. Plan a Seder built around fruits and nuts from Israel
C. Drink four cups of wine (white, pink, reddish, deep red)

7. On what holiday do we not eat fruits from Israel?

A. Sukkot
B. Passover
C. Yom Kippur

Answers:  1A, 2B, 3B, 4A, 5C, 6A,B,C and 7C

As we move into 2014, wishing you all a happy, healthy, joyful year!

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  1. says

    I always enjoy it when you link to Grandma’s Briefs. I was raised Catholic but I truly enjoy learning about other faiths. Is it appropriate to wish you a Happy Tu B’ Shevat? Thanks for sharing!

    • Ellen says

      Thanks, Grandma Kc 🙂 I enjoy learning about others’ traditions, too. And yes – it’s perfectly appropriately to wish me a Happy Tu B’Shevat! It’s considered a minor holiday — but there are so many opportunities for creativity and fun, with the extra benefit of promoting caring about our environment.

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