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This article is featured in Jvillage Network's Tu B'Shevat Guide. For more articles, recipes, crafts, and ideas,
By Jo Ann Gardner for The Forward
The seven species are pomegranate, grapes, dates, figs, olives, wheat and barley.
Why do we eat fruit of the Seven Species on Tu B’Shvat?
The Seven Species of the Bible are a central feature of the celebration of Tu B’Shvat, which this year occurs in late January. The reason usually given for eating foods from this group, especially its fruits, is that they are symbols of God’s creation, and that by eating them we give thanks to Him and reaffirm our ties to the Land of Israel.
(RNS) — The brutality of anti-Semitism in several forms dominated the top 10 news stories related to Jews and Judaism this year. But there were important and even happy developments as well.
1. The Tree of Life synagogue shooting
The “slaughter of the innocents” in a Pittsburgh synagogue in October was the single worst anti-Jewish attack in U.S. history, with 11 worshippers killed (among them were two of my cousins, Cecil and David Rosenthal). The swift public revulsion and denunciation of the massacre cut across all religious, ethnic and racial boundaries and resulted in a vast outpouring of support for the American Jewish community.
By Ushi Derman for Beit Hatfutsot, Museum of the Jewish People
You can tell a lot about religions by their archetypal protagonist. Generally speaking, Christianity is fond of pure, untarnished guys, those who turn their other cheek. The Muslims adore men who sacrifice their lives to reach paradise, whereas the Buddhists respect he who can live an entire life doing one thing – avoiding. Avoiding over eating, uninhibited sex, alcohol and drugs, and life in general.
And Judaism? Well, it certainly resents the character of the agonized martyr. Jewish protagonists are deliberately portrayed full of flaws, bursting with drives and passions, just the opposite of saints. Abraham is manipulative, Isaac is limp, Jacob is hypocritical, Moses stutters, Joseph is arrogant and vindictive, Samson is impulsive and Salomon is a hedonist.
By Sara Toth Stub for Tablet Magazine
Israel’s kibbutzim start taking in African asylum-seekers and their families
L. left her home in Ethiopia more than a decade ago, when she was still a teenager, hoping to find work in neighboring Sudan. But instead she was kidnapped, taken into the desert of the Sinai Peninsula by human traffickers, and finally apprehended by Israeli officials on the border with Egypt.
“I am still haunted in my head from this whole ordeal, everything that happened in the Sinai,” she told me, declining to give more details.
By Josh Nathan-Kazis for The Forward
The American Jewish community’s network of charity organizations is a font of Jewish power, a source of communal pride and a huge mystery.
We know that the network exists. We know that its federations, social service groups and advocacy organizations influence America’s domestic and foreign policy, care for the old, educate the young and send more than a billion dollars a year to Israel.
Yet until now we’ve had no idea what the network looks like.
by: Barry Pitegoff for Jewish Sacred Aging
“Know where you come from in order to know what your legacy will be” is the lesson in The Talmud, Pirke Avot, 3:1.
We used to know where we come from through gathering together for family reunions, special celebrations, Passover Seder, Chanukah, American (and Canadian) Thanksgiving, picnics and the like. These linked us to our living relatives through face-to-face contact.
The person in the family who organizes these events is called the “kinkeeper.”
By Breaking Matzo
This article is featured in Jvillage Network's Hanukkah Guide. For more articles, recipes, crafts, and ideas, visit here.
Judith was one of the great Jewish heroines. Judith single-handedly conceived of a daring and ingenious plan to save the Jews during an earlier time of Syrian Greek oppression.
The book of Judith (Yehudit in Hebrew), records that Holofernes, a Greek general, had surrounded the village of Bethulia as part of his campaign to conquer Judea.
The fighting was intense. The Greeks had cut off the Jews’ water supply. The situation became desperate and the Jews were ready to capitulate. But Judith, a pious widow, told the leaders that she had a plan to save the city.
BY ORLY R. RAHIMIYAN for MyJewishLearning
Iranian Jewry under the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Jews began settling in Iran about 2,700 years ago. Throughout their history, the Iranian Jews have coped with significant challenges, especially during the Safavid era (1501-1736) and under the Qajar rulers (1796-1925).
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Beth El is raising funds for a new playground?
Beth El is getting a new playground! If you would like to donate towards this very worthy project, simply send your donations to Beth El Hebrew Congregation and notate "Playground." If you donate on line, the playground fund is first on the list!
Wednesdays during the school year
@ 7:00 PM
See calendar for exact dates and subjects
For more information about ALIVE! go to alive-inc.org.
We have a very special service January 18 at 7:30 p.m. in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and his heroic work.
We will be joined by our talented 5th grade class and singer-songwriter, LEA.
Come for a fast and fun night of trivia, food and comaraderie on Saturday, March 2, 2019, 6:00 pm, at Beth El. Adults and teens (7th grade and up) can play! The cost is $35 per person (includes: dinner and participation), BYOB. Bring cash to buy optional extra chits to help your table become the champion! Separate, supervised Kids Night Out - $10 per child (6th grade and younger; includes casual dinner, movie & games). RSVP: by Monday, February 18, Advance Ticket Sales Only. Register here Questions: Contact Anne Levy, [email protected] Proceeds will go to the Beth El Playground Fund.
Please sign up for Ushering at Beth El for Friday Night Services
This is a great opportunity to see and meet fellow congregants.Please use the link to sign up:
Support During Shutdown
As the frustrating government shutdown drags on, we extend our sympathies during this anxious time for you and your family. While Beth El Hebrew Congregation is not a direct service provider, we can offer temporary dues relief until the shutdown has ended. We hope this resource list can be an asset during this difficult time and pray for an immediate resolution:
What Furloughed Workers Need to Know About Filing for Unemployment Benefits: https://tinyurl.com/yd3v7w29
A Furloughed Federal Employee’s Guide to Filing for Unemployment: https://tinyurl.com/y9qltsjt
U.S. Office of Personnel Management Furlough Guidance: tps://tinyurl.com/y8sg3mum
Alexandria Center for Economic Support: https://tinyurl.com/yd66o7mj
Coordinated Services Fairfax County: https://tinyurl.com/y8f9e4vg
Local Restaurants Offering Free or Discounted Meals and More: https://tinyurl.com/ybmozmt3
There are activities, meetings, services and seminars at Beth El each week, ranging from service opportunities to Jewish learning and education, drawing members and guests from throughout the Washington, D.C. area.