Recite this blessing the first time you do something each Jewish calendar year (e.g., the first night of Hanukkah when you light the menorah), and to mark joyous occasions.
The Hebrew word Hanukkah means “dedication” and refers to the joyous eight-day celebration through which Jews commemorate the victory of the Maccabees over the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. and the subsequent liberation and “rededication” of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Accompanying student groups to the Kotel repeatedly reminds me that Israel is a place like none other. On my most recent trip, I got another reminder of that fact.
Tu BiShvat (Jewish Arbor Day) is the time of year when Israeli schoolchildren plant trees. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that a teacher instituted the tree-planting custom.
When a wildfire leveled my home when I was 20, I fell into a deep depression. Later, when I began to re-engage, I started to associate my emergence with Tu BiShvat.
Miraculously, a delicate network of threads is emerging amongst us, linking us heart to heart.