By Joshua Weinberg
“And when you come into the Land, and have planted all manner of food bearing trees… (Lev. 19:23) The Holy one Blessed be he said to the people Israel: Even though you have found [the land] full of plenty, you shall not say: We shall sit and not plant, rather proceed with caution in your planting… For as you have entered and found the fruits of others’ labor, you so shall plant for your children. (Midrash Tanhuma)
If you’re like me, then you may remember that pivotal moment of Jewish education when you received your very own Jewish National Fund (JNF) certificate for a tree planted in Israel. Whether it was for a birth, birthday, bar/bat mitzvah, or in memory of a loved one, a tree was planted in Israel to mark the occasion. The message was clear: with every passing milestone we want to connect Jews to the Land of Israel and to the Zionist enterprise. All of us who were the fortunate recipients of such trees knew in the recesses of our mind that somewhere in that strip of land, in some forest, was our tree, our little piece of Israel. As the certificates read, the JNF wished us the following: “We wish you the fortune of seeing it grow with much pleasure and ease.”
Everyone loves to participate in a Pesach seder. But did you know that there is an opportunity to celebrate a different seder about two months earlier?
The Hebrew month preceding Rosh HaShanah during which one engages in self-reflection and evaluation in preparation for the High Holidays. Traditionally, the shofar is blown each day during the month.
Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur
"Cycle;" High Holiday prayerbook; plural: machzorim.
Ram’s horn most commonly blown throughout the month of Elul and during the High Holiday season.
"Forgiveness;" special penitential prayers recited during Elul and the High Holidays.
"Casting away;" A traditional ceremony held during the Yamim Nora-im (Days of Awe), usually on the first day of Rosh HaShanah, in which individuals symbolically “cast away” their sins or wrongdoings from the past year by throwing breadcrumbs into a flowing body of water.
Seventh month on the Hebrew calendar; Rosh HaShanah falls on the first day of this month.