We live in difficult times.
Yesterday marked one year since the storming of our nation’s capital on January 6th. The events of that day led to seven deaths. Our democracy “dodged a bullet.” The country still has a long way to go to heal the political rifts and hatred evidenced on that day.
Additionally, the Pandemic continues to climb to unprecedented levels. Ever agile, our Temple is responding by shifting to Zoom (instead of live-stream) for Shabbat services for the month of January. The advantage of zoom is that it allows for greater participation and interaction. Please join us by zoom for a chance to see your friends and celebrate Shabbat together.
Our Jewish tradition calls us to look towards hope even in difficult times. When we look towards the horizon we often see the beauty of nature in the long view. We live in Westchester, a place blessed with great natural beauty. We are surrounded by trees, lakes, hills and mountains that inspire awe. Drawing strength from the natural world can help us overcome the challenges we face today.
This coming Thursday, January 13th is Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish “New Year for Trees.” Since ancient times Tu B’Shvat celebrates the miracles of nature and our environmental responsibility to care for the earth. In the words of Genesis, the purpose of human life is “To Tend and Till the Garden.”
You are invited to join a Tu b’Shvat Seder via zoom on Thursday at 7:30pm. Please bring a bottle of red and white wine (or grape juice). Also, please bring:
1. An Orange, pomegranate, almond or walnut. (A fruit or nut with an inedible shell but an edible inside).
2. Olives or Dates (A fruit with edible outside but with an inedible pit).
3. Figs or Blueberries (fruits that are edible inside and out).
Together we will feast, drink and learn about Jewish Spirituality and our connection to the natural world.
The Tu B’Shvat Seder is in partnership with our Temple’s Green Team, led by Karen Sabath. At the seder Karen with inspire us with practical things we can do to put our care for the environment into action.
The Wisdom of Pirke Avot (“Ethics of the Sages,” c. 200) teaches “We must not let the immensity of a task paralyze us from taking the first steps.”
Please join us as we step forward into Shabbat together by zoom tonight, and then again on Thursday as we celebrate the blessings of nature and our responsibility to care for our earth.
Shabbat Shalom and Tu B’Shvat Sameach.
May we find moments of joy,
Rabbi David Wilfond