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Torah cannot be Torah without us; it needs us. Therefore, we must read it, we must study it, we must discuss it and debate it. We must carry it. We must dance among its verses, discovering ourselves in its chapters.
One of most wonderful aspects of Simchat Torah is celebrating the joy of children and families dancing and singing with our Torah scrolls. Watch and listen to songs about our Torah, learn the creation story, how our Torahs can be handled with joy and care, and what all those books are really about!
As I thought about what would be involved if we did our own Tu BiShvat seder, it seemed interesting and fun. Tasting lots of fruits? Marking a time to appreciate, mindfully and respectfully, trees and the earth? Drinking wines and grape juices? Yes, please.
Tu BiShvat, the precursor to Earth Day, should make us alert to our air, water, animals, and foliage – and all that we’re doing to destroy them.
The way we celebrate Tu BiShvat has changed over the years – a case-in-point of how Jewish life and observance has been transformed in our day, due in no small part thanks to the successes of the State of Israel.
Since 1970, the United States has celebrated Earth Day every April. By contrast, ancient Jewish celebrations throughout the year remind us of our responsibility to safeguard the fragile planet God has entrusted to our care. Almost all of our Jewish observances reflect environmental concerns.
Tu BiShvat (Hebrew for the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat) is the new year of the trees.
In a few weeks we will be celebrating Tu BiSh’vat. There are numerous approaches you could take in planning your celebration.