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.
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.
We who have become cynical,
Whom life has raised its tough first
Of despair and
Disappointment and heartache
We who have learned to protect our souls
And toughen our hearts
To avoid more anguish
Next week at this time, I’ll be stepping into the mikveh, the Jewish ritual bath. It’s been a yearlong journey that will lead me to that holy space, one I’ll enter as a former Catholic/not-quite-Jew and exit as a Jewish woman – no longer an outsider.
When I witnessed a gun homicide, I struggled with how best to incorporate my own mourning and my sense of community loss into my Jewish worship.