I am familiar with a Passover seder, but what is a Tu BiShvat seder?
Tu BiShvat (Hebrew for the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat) is the new year of the trees.
Finding Our Own Power in Purim
Purim is almost here! It’s loud, it’s raucous, it’s festive, it’s colorful, and the food is great. It’s no wonder the rabbis of the Talmud saw Purim as such a high point in the calendar that they declared, “When Adar [the Hebrew month housing the holiday of Purim] enters, joy increases (Babylonian Talmud Ta’anit 29a). On the 14th of Adar, Jews around the world celebrate Purim, which commemorates the salvation of the Jews of Shushan and the defeat of the evil schemer Haman (boo!).
Battle of the Joyous February Celebrations: Purim vs. the Super Bowl
It's February, and I take issue with T.S. Eliot. It is not April but February which is the cruelest month. Cold, dark, and brutish, with none of the celebratory feel of December and January, spring feels months away during February. Thankfully, February has our greatest secular holiday - the Super Bowl - and our most gleeful Jewish holiday, Purim.
This Purim, May We Each Take the Mask Off Our God
It’s Hard to be a Jew at Christmas, But Even Harder on Tu BiSh’vat
It is a truth universally acknowledged that it can be difficult to be Jewish at Christmas time. It has seeped into North American cultural consciousness so thoroughly that South Park even wrote a song about it, complete with trademark expletives.
Why I’m Done Looking Up to Queen Esther
As a child, Purim was one of my favorite holidays. Costumes, candy, and being allowed – nay, encouraged – to make noise in synagogue: What’s not to love?
Purim, the Bible, and a Vengeful God
Cruelty and bloodshed abound in the Bible as, for example, the Pharaoh's ruthless treatment of his Israelite slaves and Moses' vengeful slaying of the Egyptian taskmaster in the Passover story.
Vashti: Finding a Feisty Feminist in our Purim Story
A few years ago, I found myself in a bit of a Purim predicament specifically pertaining to the “to tell or not to tell” dilemma regarding Vashti, one of the oft forgotten players in our Purim tale.
Happy Adar, the Gateway to the Gateway to Spring!
"When Adar enters, joy increases!" So says the wisdom of our tradition (B. Ta'anit 29a.) Why?