A few hours after 8-year-old Sammy Sommer and his parents were told by their amazing doctor in Milwaukee there would be no more treatment for his acute myelogenous leukemia, I met them for French fries at a hot dog stand in Highland Park.
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.”
We know that it takes more than fun and games to make the Purim Carnival a success. Here are 6 ways to help your teens make the Purim Carnival a magical experience for everyone.
While the Purim celebrations and unpacking of lessons continue, we continue to explore other ways to celebrate - including partnering with our "twin" sisterhood in Israel.
Upon receiving the news that the Jewish community in Brussels has canceled its Purim festivities in light of yesterday's tragic terror attacks, Reform/Progressive Jewish leadership shared the following letter of solidarity.
I remember the Purim celebrations of my youth: homemade cardboard crowns wrapped in aluminum foil; groggers fashioned from Styrofoam cups, dried beans, and masking tape; my brothers dressed in bathrobes, beards and mustaches sketched on their faces. As in many other congregations, our Purim carnival was run by the youth group as a fundraiser, and when I reached high school, I became a planner instead of a participant. We planned games and activities that sounded like fun to us teenagers and would be enjoyed by the religious school kids who were our target audience. Neither preschool children nor their parents were part of the planning equation.