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.
In a few weeks we will be celebrating Tu BiSh’vat. There are numerous approaches you could take in planning your celebration.
While we have been having a relatively warm winter in the United States, it cannot compare to what winter is like in Israel. It is the rainy season there, the time of year that Israel greens up, with cooler temperatures and rain (which feels like a miracle every time I experience it) in between
With great excitement, tinged with a touch of trepidation, I moved to Israel in the summer of 1996 to begin my first year of rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College.
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.
This year, we celebrate the beginning of the month of Adar between “Shabbat Shekalim” and the Shabbat when we read the Torah portion “Truma” (donation). Shabbat Shekalim reminds us that each and every one of us has an equal share in the amazing challenge that is the State of Israel.
It is life we want, no more and no less than that, our own life feeding on our own vital sources, in the fields and under the skies of our homeland, a life based on our own physical and mental labors; we want vital energy and spiritual richness from this living source.