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It's the children, at first, that inspire awe, the infants now walking, the toddlers talking, the grade schoolers freshly combed and pressed, the high schoolers immense, the college students all but unrecognizable in their newfound sophistication. The brief span of twelve months has metamorphosed them all.
In ancient times, there were four different New Years on the Jewish calendar. Each had a distinct significance.
There are many customs and traditions associated with Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year, a time of prayer, self-reflection and repentance.
The High Holidays are a time of personal reflection and repentance and an opportunity to reaffirm the Jewish tradition’s longstanding commitment to tikkun olam (repair of the world).
“Happy birthday to trees! Happy birthday to trees!” Yes, that’s Lila from Shaboom! singing and tree-hugging to kick off a short lesson about Tu BiShvat.
While I thought I had an awareness of my purpose, a new one was revealed to me this past summer when my two daughters, Alexis, 28, and Shaina, 25, and I visited Vienna, the city where my father/their grandfather, of blessed memory, was born and raised.
On Tu BiShvat, we celebrate the “New Year of the Trees.” This holiday, which falls on the 15th day (tu) of the Hebrew month of Shvat, is also known as the birthday of the trees. We say “Happy birthday” and “Happy new year” to the trees sprouting up after winter and to the flowers beginning to bud in eager anticipation of the spring