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...]

Helping Kids Understand Tashlich

Rosh Hashanah tradition

One of my new Rosh Hashanah books broaches territory that is more complicated than eating apples dipped in honey. [For a good Rosh Hashanah book for younger children, read our blog about Sammy Spider's First Rosh Hashanah.] “New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story,” was written by April Halprin Wayland, illustrated by Stephane Jorisch. The story helps young readers understand the basics of the ceremony of Tashlich, from the perspective of Izzy who is sorry for several of his transgressions from the past year. It’s easy for him to admit to three: drawing on Miriam’s forehead, … [Read more...]

Cheesecake, Anyone? – Shavuot is Coming!

Cheesecake for Shavuot

Shavuot has so many names. Since it celebrates receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai, one of its names is Z’man Matan Torah, or Time of the Giving of Torah. “Shavuot celebrates the moment when the Jewish people stood before God at Mount Sinai and received a scroll containing all the secrets of the universe as a memento of their encounter.  The scroll was the Torah.  She is called a tree of life.” (Anita Diamant, Living a Jewish Life ) The name itself has the word “shavuah” in it, the Hebrew word for week. So Hag haShavuot, Feast of Weeks, recognizes the seven-week period between Passover and … [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...]

Last-Minute Ways to Get Ready for Seder

Seder Plate

Are you hosting the Seder this year – but you haven’t planned it yet? Don’t panic. If you’re looking for easy how-to guidance, grab a copy of our instantly downloadable  Celebrate Passover: How to Plan a Fun, Simple Seder.  You'll get a Seder shopping list, how to set the Seder table, and lots, lots more! Plus, you get two audio tutorials, with a pronunciation guide. Passover 2016 is from sunset, Friday, April 22 through nightfall, Saturday, April 30 And if you want to customize your Seder, but need ideas that are super fast? Look at these for inspiration - then choose from your family's … [Read more...]