Coming a month and a half before the spring equinox and two months before Passover, Tu BiShvat provides a glimmer of springtime at a time when winter can often be at its cruelest.
My mother died on Shabbat Shirah, the Sabbath when Moses and the children of Israel sang while Miriam the Prophet led everyone in dance after crossing the sea to freedom.
I’ve come to the conclusion we need to change the date of Simchat Torah. Our Jewish festivals must be re-envisioned as inspirational community gatherings of joyful spiritual Jewish celebration. Every single festival needs to be a time of great community involvement and meaning.
According to traditional Jewish belief, the Sabbath has its origin in God’s divine command to observe the seventh day as a day of rest and sanctification.
Every year, the season of reflection and renewal is culminated by the celebration of Simchat Torah (literally “the rejoicing of the Torah”).
I did not have a typical Reform Movement upbringing, and would say that the three years I lived on an island in Alaska are probably most emblematic of that.