Making ALL the Jewish holidays more meaningful & fun!

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Please don’t spend time worrying about the non-Jewish holidays you want to get rid of. Focus on making the Jewish holidays robust! Let them fill up your family’s life with warmth, celebration, ritual and good memories.

I recently read an article, How to Hanukkahize other Jewish Holidays. In it the author suggests that American Jews develop more depth in their practice of all Jewish holidays, not just the one that coincides with the mega-holiday, Christmas.  Personally, I’m all for that. I love celebrations, company, feasts and special decorations and practices.

If you are the Jewish partner – STEP UP! Let’s throw some fun out there! Don’t ask your spouse to go without a holiday; introduce them to a fun, new-to-them holiday. You can’t expect someone to embrace nothingness. There are plenty of Jewish holidays with lots of different themes, pick one or two.

Coming right up is Tu Bishvat. This holiday has biblical roots and has grown some modern elements that focus on nature, especially trees. In my opinion, trees are truly one of God’s BEST THINGS. What’s not to love and value about trees?  Add to that the current global problem of climate chaos and destruction of our beautiful planet and this is a holiday ripe with possibilities.

Learn the foundation of Tu Bishvat. Don’t be caught with your pants down when someone asks you where the holiday comes from. It didn’t start out as a holiday; rather it was a date on the calendar, very important in agricultural times.

Whose mission is, “We are leading a transformative movement weaving sustainability into the fabric of Jewish life, in order to create a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable world for all” couldn’t be more important. They provide resources to teach and practice the creation of a sustainable world. Find some elements that speak to you and make them a family ritual. Learn more.

Fun at home
In my own home I love food, decorations and crafts that provide me with a sense of fun, giving and joy. Studies on education show that doing things with our hands greatly aids in solidifying our learning. So MAKE something!  It could be a dirt cake  or a dirt flowerpot. Here’s the recipe my friend used for the flowerpot. She brought it to work.  Yes, she included the gummy worms!

Beautiful Tu Bishvat Centerpiece
Or kick this WAY upstairs to the grownups and have a gathering to make some stunning Tu Bishvatart/food.

The back-story, I got an email from the woman who created the site, asking me if I would be interested in sharing her artful food ideas. I took a look and WOW! Now some of her ideas may be too labor intensive for you, but they will get your creative juices flowing. Imagine walking into a home with a table laden with food and the centerpiece is one of these flowery, fruity edibles like the one pictured above.

She covers other holidays as well. If you love decorative foods you’ll be in heaven.

Tu B’shvat begins Sunday evening Feb 5 and lasts through Monday. Here are a couple activities.
 Torah Tots (Tu B’shvat)
Come celebrate with PJ Library Parent Connector Ema Lara and Beth Chaim Congregation. Please join us as we learn about Tu B’shvat! Tkiya will lead us in music and songs, and there will also be a story and snack!

This fun event is for anyone with little ones ages 0-5. Mask wearing is very much appreciated but not required.

Date:   Sunday, Feb. 5
Time:   10:00am
Place:   Beth Chaim Sanctuary, 1800 Holbrook Drive, Danville

Tu Bishvat Gathering
Please join us February 10 in honor of Tu Bishvat, just prior to Friday night services. Dried fruit, cheese and wine will be served.

Date:   Friday, February 10
Time:   7:15-7:45 pm
Place:   Beth Emek Social Hall, Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Ct., Pleasanton

Young Adults
I’m particularly looking around for events that are aimed at people in their 20’s through 40’s since so many of the people on this list are in that age bracket. Here’s one I saw. Beth Emek says everyone is welcome.

Dinner & a Show: A Gathering for Young Adults
Thanks to a grant from the Contra Costa JCC, Beth Emek is excited to invite young adults (20s to mid 40s) for dinner and a show! We’ll begin the evening with dinner at BottleTaps, and then we’ll head over to Beth Emek to enjoy the Mishpucha Feud. Join us for good food, great conversation, and an opportunity to end Shabbat together.

Date:   Sat, Feb 4
Time:   5:30pm
Place:   BottleTaps, Pleasanton
Host:   Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Ct., Pleasanton,
There is no cost for this event. Please sign up here
Questions? Contact Lisa Kama.