The “Fruity & Nutty” Jewish Holiday – Tu BiSh’vat

Celetrate Tu BiSh'evat

Ah, the almond tree in Israel. In bloom again. Time for Tu BiSh’vat, the New Year of the Trees. (Sorry - this isn't an almond blossom, but you get the idea.) To get you in the spirit, read these lines from Rabbi Vicki Hollander’s lyrical “Ode to the Moon of Sh’vat.” (It’s definitely worth clicking on the link to read the rest of it.) And as the full moon rises, on the 15th day of Sh’vat, so comes her holy day, Tu BiSh’vat, the new year of the trees. When according to legend, that very night, the moon pulls and sap stirs within the trees, rising upwards. Full of Possibility Tu … [Read more...]

Lag B’Omer – Family Fun Between Passover & Shavuot

Celebrate Lag B'Omer

Lag B’Omer (pronounced lahg b’aw-mehr) is coming! Lag B'Omer  begins Wednesday, May 25th and ends Thursday, May 26th. This minor holiday comes 33 days into the 49-day Counting of the Omer (after Passover and before Shavuot). It often includes outdoor celebrations - think picnics, ball games, roasting marshmallows, and cranking up that grill. If you’re not sure what the significance is, you’re not alone. In fact, there are different points of view about its origins. Lag B’Omer basics What’s it mean? Lag B’Omer means the 33rd day of the omer.  The Hebrew letters of “Lag” – “lamed” which … [Read more...]

Celebrating Shavuot with Flowers

Shavuot celebration

Shavuot is rich in important themes – and equally rich in names, reminding us of the different celebrations encompassed by the holiday: Hag ha-Shavuot – Feast of Weeks – the 7-week period between Passover and Shavuot Yom ha-Bikkurim – First Fruits Day – the tradition from Temple days when Jewish farmers tied threads around the first fruits, then brought them to the Temple Hag ha-Katzir – Festival Harvest – celebrating the season of wheat harvesting Z’man Matan Torah – Time of Giving the Torah Here is a wonderfully moving description of the giving of Torah from Rabbi Lawrence … [Read more...]

Hanukkah Miracle – Celebrate Olive Oil

This summer, an old friend visited and brought us tangy Meyer lemon-infused olive oil as a hostess gift. A few months later, when that bottle was empty, I discovered a new gourmet shop in our town with flavored olive oils. All of this reinforced my wish to elevate olive oil in our family as the stuff of which the Hanukkah miracle was made. I’ve felt guilty about not doing enough about this in years past. Really? Jewish guilt about oil? Well, a little. Like lots of families, we use candles in our menorahs . . . but that doesn’t help underscore the miracle of the oil, lasting and … [Read more...]

Re-imagine a More Joyful Shabbat at Home – Down-to-Earth Ideas for Your Family

Is a tiara part of your Shabbat celebration? It could be. (See* below.) How about pizza? Yup, that, too. We all live such busy lives. What a gift it would be to “use” Shabbat to unplug and be more present with our families! As we move past the High Holidays, and as the darkness falls faster, the twinkling lights of Shabbat candles are more welcome – and welcoming – than ever. “Celebrate Shabbat” e-guide for less than $1 Until the end of October, we are offering our downloadable “Celebrate Shabbat: How to Create Joyful Home Traditions” for just $.99 using code OCTOBERSHABBAT at … [Read more...]