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Last year, I spent Seollal, or Korean New Year, with my family in Busan. The symbolism, the spirituality, and the elaborate order of charye remind me of Jewish holidays and rituals.
Twenty-year-old Shayna Goldberg is young adult songleader and performer with EPIC Players, a New York-based nonprofit theatre company that opens the stage to all types of artists and seeks to shine a light on neurodiverse talent. Along with her family, she is a part of the Adath Emanu-El community in Mount Laurel, N.J.
Eighty years ago on January 20, 1942, the infamous Wannsee Conference took place in a large lakeside three-story mansion in suburban Berlin. Fifteen Nazi German leaders attended the meeting that coordinated plans to "orderly execute" ---murder--- millions of Jews during World War II.
This is a prayer of healing for the hostages freed from Congregation Beth Israel, Colleyville, Texas, as well as the congregation and the community.
On Tu Bishvat we celebrated trees and a season of new growth. I've been doing lots of thinking about trees, as I frequently do, and the role they play in providing oxygen for the planet. At the Union of Reform Judaism, we provide oxygen to our communities by creating compassionate spaces for our participants to grow and thrive. We can respond to current and future challenges by fostering resilience that reflect our Jewish values.
Last Saturday, January 22nd, marked the 49th anniversary of the US Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision. The Roe decision was revolutionary, as it protected a pregnant person's right to have an abortion, without excessive government restrictions. Now, we face a grim reality that Roe may not reach its 50 th anniversary. This spring, the Court will deliver its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the case that could functionally overturn Roe. If this happens, almost half the states in the US are poised to ban abortion entirely.
It's rare to find a documentary set in the Middle East that isn't mired in politics and discord. Rarer still is one bathed in the kind of optimism and goodwill found in Beth Elise Hawk's new film, Breaking Bread. An inside look at a three-day food festival in Haifa, Israel, pairing Israeli and Muslim Arab chefs, Breaking Bread pursues peace through the power of creating top-notch cuisine.
The upcoming holiday of Tu BiShvat -- the birthday of the trees - brings back a memory of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. In the museum is an enormous cross-section of a giant sequoia tree. Standing before it is a sublime experience. The cross-section overwhelms you with its sheer size, inspiring questions about the size of the tree it was cut from.
Gloria Lenhoff can sing in thirty languages. She has performed operatic arias and classical lieder with orchestras and chamber groups throughout the world. She has participated in High Holiday choirs and served as guest cantor or assistant cantor at synagogues in four states. But Gloria’s dazzling musical accomplishments do not stop her parents from worrying about her future.
As I thought about what would be involved if we did our own Tu BiShvat seder, it seemed interesting and fun. Tasting lots of fruits? Marking a time to appreciate, mindfully and respectfully, trees and the earth? Drinking wines and grape juices? Yes, please.