Last year was my first time celebrating Passover and one of the first times I sang with the congregational choir. One of the songs we performed for the seder was "Dayenu." The choir director explained during practice that in Hebrew, "dayenu" means "enough." I loved the melody of the song and found myself humming the tune as I prepared for Passover.
The Passover seder is about telling our story, which is often done by communally reading the Haggadah, a written collection of stories, rituals, and commentary. Without accessible options, people with various disabilities are prevented from fully participating in the seder.
The saying goes, "tell me what you eat, and I'll tell you who you are." Food is not only fuel for our bodies, it's also a conduit of culture, storytelling, and identity. The Jewish people know this well. Our culinary traditions have preserved our stories and history, from generation to generation.
Third-year Hebrew Union College-NYC student Jesse Epstein hopes to make Judaism more accessible, meaningful, and relevant for today’s Jewish community – through beer. He recently became the owner of Shmaltz Brewing Company, a beer-brewing brand aimed at providing community members with a mode and environment for consumption steeped in Jewish ethics, text, and tradition.
Clothes may not make the woman, but there is no doubt that there are times when the clothes we wear make a difference. Clothes can help define us; think of a doctor donning their long white coat for the first time. Clothes can also help others identify us; a firefighter or an EMT arriving in uniform tells me that help has arrived. Sometimes, the clothes we wear help us imagine a different future for ourselves. Organizations that provide people with affordable business attire for interviews, such as Bottomless Closet or Dress for Success, have long understood that first impressions matter.
Tu BiShvat, the Jewish New Year of the Trees, is upon us. While it may not be the most celebrated new year in the Jewish tradition, there is a simple power to the holiday - the call for us to become attuned to nature and learn what it can teach us about personal growth.
As Jews, we have the opportunity to celebrate the New Year not once, but several times. The Jewish year has four different New Year celebrations: Rosh HaShanah, Passover, Tu BiShvat, and Elul. Many Jews also celebrate the Gregorian New Year in January. That means we get five opportunities every year to do an accounting of our soul (cheshbon hanefesh) and make resolutions for growth and betterment.
Conversations about Hanukkah are few and far between in our ancient texts; most of what the Talmud records about Hanukkah is within a few pages in the tractate called Shabbat. But, as is so often the case, those millennia-old words have grown in significance as we prepare for Hanukkah 5783.