Produce and Potential

Headshot of Gail Labovitz
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by Rabbi Gail Labovitz, PhD
posted on February 7, 2020
Tu Bishvat (the 15th of the month of Shevat) is first mentioned in early rabbinic tradition, as a “new year” for trees – or more accurately, fruit and nut-bearing trees. In fact, according to the Mishnah, in Rosh haShanah 1:1, trees may have two separate new years. One of these is on the first of Tishrei to mark the age of the tree (that is, no matter what date a tree was planted or replanted, it becomes a year older on the first of Tishrei; this is important because according to Lev. 19:23-25 one may not eat of the fruit of a newly planted tree for four years). Read more...

Taking Care of Yourself in the New Year

Headshot of Elliot Dorff
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by Rabbi Elliot Dorff, PhD
posted on January 1, 2020
Jews learn early in life that their Jewish heritage includes a strong focus on helping others.  The Torah has multiple laws that require us to take care of the poor (e.g., Leviticus 19:9-10; Deuteronomy 15:7-15), and the Rabbis expanded on that to require that every Jewish community establish a soup kitchen to feed the poor and a charity fund to supply them with clothing and shelter (Tosefta, Pe’ah 4;9).  Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Torah, depicts God as caring for the widow, orphan, and stranger (10:18), and it bids us in several places to do so likewise (14:29; 16:11, 14; 24:19-21; Read more...

Thank You God - A Thanksgiving Reminder

Headshot of Rabbi Cheryl Peretz
by Rabbi Cheryl Peretz
posted on November 27, 2019
I love Thanksgiving.  I love it for the turkey and stuffing, for the company of friends and family, and even for the football on the television set. And, I love it for the reminders that come from the very name itself – the invitation to give thanks for what we have, how we live, the food we eat, and the freedom we live.   Read more...