Coming a month and a half before the spring equinox and two months before Passover, Tu BiShvat provides a glimmer of springtime at a time when winter can often be at its cruelest.
Derived from central Europe, the popular kichlach (Yiddish for "cookies") are to be found in many of the packages prepared by parents for their children serving in the Israeli military.
One favorite dish of the Ashkenazim that survived the move from the shtetl to North America was the hearty mushroom-potato-barley soup called krupnick.
The mechanism to connect the Exodus with the giving of the Torah is a simple one-counting the days.
I consider myself an environmentalist. I write about the earth, think about the earth, care about the earth. I wrote my rabbinical thesis partly on Judaism and the environment, and I helped found en environmental advocacy committee in my synagogue.