Rabbi Shimon fled to the cave to escape a death sentence for publicly criticizing Roman culture. According to folk tradition, during his twelve years of isolation, he engaged in mystical meditation and wrote the Zohar, the central work of Kabbalah.
My family is not gluten-free. But we have several close friends who are. So when I posted earlier this month that I'd be starting my hamantaschen baking, one of those friends asked if I'd be making any gluten-free delicacies. Um, no.
Jewish communities around the world marked the "new year for the trees" last week with tree planting ceremonies and seders that celebrate Israel's seven species (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates if you are keeping track!).