Even though “Crossing Delancy’s” Sam the Pickle Man and Tu BiShvat both are somewhat predictable, they also are filled with wisdom, poetry, hope, and faith.
May each of us, at this Tu BiShvat – the New Year of the Trees – refuse to be complacent in accepting the ills and sorrows of our lives.
In my past life as a cantor in Los Angeles, I was always facilitating the concept of “Jewish time” for others. Here in Jerusalem, it just sort of happens on its own.
In college, being outdoors and celebrating the natural world was an important part of my spirituality, so I sought out hints that other Jews felt the same way.
The wind and the smell of smoke woke us. We stumbled out of bed, joining neighbors in the cul-de-sac to stare at the red glow lighting up the hills behind our houses.
"Tu" (the Hebrew abbreviation of 15th) in the month of Shvat was set (Hillel's opinion generally overrules Shammai's) as the beginning of the tithable year for tree fruit: Calculating the tithe on fruit starts again for fruit that sets after that date.
Purim is just around the corner. Your congregation is making plans for the celebration, whether those plans include a carnival or a spiel, there is a sense of excitement in the air. These festivities are rooted in the Bible, more specifically in M’gillat Esther.
Every story has its music. The story of Esther, told on Purim, has music – the cantillation of the Megillah (scroll of Esther). But every piece of music also has its story. This essay will share some of the fascinating story behind how we chant parts of the Megillah.