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.”
By Cantor Barbara R. Finn
At the conclusion of Yom Kippur years ago, I attended a break-the-fast at the home of old friends. I loaded my plate with a bagel, lox, and vegetables and ambled over to a conversational group, where I stood munching and listening.
When I think of the word “hope,” one sentence comes to mind: Hope is a dangerous thing.
I don't remember where or when I first heard the statement, and I'm fairly sure it was intended as a warning, but the idea has stuck with me.
Hope is a dangerous thing.
A Major League Baseball committee proposed new rules last month for using instant replay to correct the mistakes of umpires – and I’ve been thinking about how much easier things would be if we could just apply those rules to everyday life.
We asked clergy across North America which music, books, art, movies and more help them get into a reflective state of mind as they gear up for the High Holidays.
Sure enough, last week I saw the first chatzav flower of the season – which was actually sort of surprising, as it's been several years since the last leap year, so the holidays are "early" in the solar year this year.
Most rabbis spend the summer months preparing for the High Holydays. This summer, my High Holiday preparation included travelling to Lucknow, India, with 16 rabbis representing Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and Renewal Jewish communities across America.