International Holocaust Remembrance Day today the 27th and Tu BiShvat starts tonight and through tomorrow and So Long, Ambassador David Friedman, and Thanks for All the Fish* and My Jewish Press Article-JFK-no longer Just for Kiddish and Warren Buffet - What Is Success?
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
People have short memories. Only shortly before Covid started, the sanctity of the synagogue as a safe place had been lost. There was the attack in Philadelphia, and in San Diego with gunman walking in and murdering Jews in prayer.
To get rid of the idea that it only happens outside of Israel, in 2014 some local Arabs walked into a synagogue in Har Nof (part of central Jerusalem--not over the green line- right in the center of Western Jerusalem), and hacked five people to death.
The synagogue that had always been a safe place was no longer. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you want to find some Jews to attack, all you have to do is find a synagogue. G-d had always put enough control into those who wanted to attack us to consider the synagogue holy, attacks in synagogues was not a regular part of modern life.
It was not the attacks that brought the end to the Synagogues. It was Covid. Synagogues may never regain their central roles in our lives. The vitality of Jewish cultural and religious centers has dramatically waned and will probably never return..
Jewish community leaders have always struggled to be relevant, to engage and to attract followers, participants, parishioners. No one saw COVID coming. No one would have imagined the changes and the damage that would ensue. COVID has ravished our community. We will survive. Through creativity and caring, our religious community and cultural leaders can help us not only survive but thrive. They need us – and we need them.
People, not just Jewish people, enjoy socializing with like-minded people. It's what happened at water coolers before most workplaces became remote workplaces.It's what happened in the bible when all the patriarchs met their wife's at the wells. It's what happened after work when restaurants and bars were open and social distancing never entered our minds, let alone ruled our lives. It's what happened after prayers at a kiddish, at bars and mitzvahs, and at annual fundraising galas and dinners.
Jews enjoyed going to temples and to synagogues more for the camaraderie and the social scene than for the spiritual spin it added to their lives. They enjoyed seeing and being seen. Social interaction was the number-one reason people attended synagogues, Next in reasons for attending came prayer and to hear their rabbi's sermons. Most of us who go to synagogue to pray smiled when the congregation doubled a half our before the kiddish. We knew that the people were coming to the shul, JFK (just for kiddish).
Jews yearn for and thrive on community. It is our sense of community that lends support and connection to something bigger than ourselves. Community gives us a sense of safety and purpose, or it did, once upon a time.
COVID changed everything. We can pretend, we can do our best to replicate the real experience, but Zooming is not congregating. Limiting our time together as a group, is the antithesis of congregating. Drive-by simchas, festivities, especially do not allow for congregating.
We are no longer congregating.Synagogues and temples are, by definition, congregations. That is how the Hebrew term for the word synagogue actually translates. Beit Knesset means "place where one congregates," and "synagogue" is the Greek translation of that term.
Those hardest hit by the changes to our traditional synagogue model, changes wrought by COVID, have been the elderly. The irony of it all is that the elderly who now have the time to go to synagogue and attend prayer services without rushing have no services to attend, no programs in which to participate, no classes to choose from and no kiddish to enjoy. Never underestimate the importance of kiddish
They are themselves a community, now a fractured community. They are the community that is at highest risk from COVID. They are the group of men and women who once made up the backbone of attendees in daily prayer services, communal programs and activities in synagogues. Today they are the people most loathe and fearful of going out to group functions and, often, most illiterate and least adroit in computer use. They are the least likely to partake of the fake communal experience we have integrated into our lives called Zooming.
And the kiddish! Will it ever return? Will the congregation become a congregation again. Will we be able to safely congregate without first the unseen virus attacking us and then the world of anti-Semites seeing an opportunity to murder Jews when they are together. Before Covid started, many Jews both in Israel and outside the land, started to carry. Guns that is. Now with short services and no kiddishes there have been less news of attacks. Maybe that is the good side of the temporary to end to our congregations, but lets hope we can look back on both of these negative experiences as just a bad memory. Here's to you -La-Chaim!
With the Lock downs, many young mothers are driven crazy stuck at home like this one!
Shifra was starting to get a little stir crazy with her three young kids all under the age of 4. She complained to her best friend Miriam, "I'm getting no rest! They're driving me crazy!"
"What you need," said Miriam, "is a playpen."
So Shifra bought a playpen. A few days later, Miriam called to ask how things were going.
"Amazing! I can't believe it," Shifra said. "I get in that pen with a good book and a chocolate bar, and the kids don't bother me for hours!"
Yehuda Lave is an internationally known speaker, lecturer, journalist, author, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and life coach, with degrees in business, psychology, Jewish and American Law. His motto: Remember, it only takes a moment to change your life. Learn to have all the joy in your life that you deserve!!! Subscribe to his free daily blog by sending an email to YehudaLave@gmail.com
Prior to the 60/7 resolution, there had been national days of commemoration, such as Germany's Tag des Gedenkens an die Opfer des Nationalsozialismus (The Day of Remembrance for the victims of National Socialism), established in a proclamation issued by Federal President Roman Herzog on 3 January 1996; and the Holocaust memorial day observed every 27 January since 2001 in the UK.
Tu BiShvat (Hebrew: ט״ו בשבט; tú bish'vat) is a Jewish holiday occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat (in 2021, Tu BiShvat begins at sunset on January 27 and ends in the evening of January 28). It is also called Rosh HaShanah La'Ilanot (Hebrew: ראש השנה לאילנות), literally 'New Year of the Trees'. In contemporary Israel, the day is celebrated as an ecological awareness day, and trees are planted in celebration.
The name Tu BiShvat is derived from the Hebrew date of the holiday, which occurs on the fifteenth day of Shevat. "Tu" stands for the Hebrew lettersTet and Vav, which together have the numerical value of 9 and 6, adding up to 15. The date may also be called "Ḥamisha Asar BiShvat" (חמשה-עשר בשבט, "Fifteenth of Shevat").
Tu BiShvat appears in the Mishnah in Tractate Rosh Hashanah as one of the four new years in the Jewish calendar. The discussion of when the New Year occurs was a source of debate among the rabbis, who argued:
The first of Nisan is the "new year for kings and festivals".
The rabbis ruled in favor of Hillel on this issue and the 15th of Shevat became the date for calculating the beginning of the agricultural cycle for the purpose of biblical tithes.
Orlah refers to a biblical prohibition (Leviticus 19:23) on eating the fruit of trees produced during the first three years after they are planted.
Neta Reva'i refers to the biblical commandment (Leviticus 19:24) to bring fourth-year fruit crops to Jerusalem as a tithe.
Maaser Sheni was a tithe which was collected in Jerusalem and Maaser Ani was a tithe given to the poor (Deuteronomy 14:22–29) that were also calculated by whether the fruit ripened before or after Tu BiShvat.
Of the talmudic requirements for fruit trees which used Tu BiShvat as the cut-off date in the Hebrew calendar for calculating the age of a fruit-bearing tree, Orlah remains to this day in essentially the same form it had in talmudic times. In the Orthodox Jewish world, these practices are still observed today as part of Halacha, Jewish law. Fruit that ripened on a three-year-old tree before Tu BiShvat is considered orlah and is forbidden to eat, while fruit ripening on or after Tu BiShvat of the tree's third year is permitted. In the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th years of the Shmita cycle Maaser Sheni is observed today by a ceremony redeeming tithing obligations with a coin; in the 3rd and 6th years, Maaser Ani is substituted, and no coin is needed for redeeming it. Tu BiShvat is the cut-off date for determining to which year the tithes belong.
Tu BiShvat falls on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat and begins a three-month series (in years without a leap year) of holidays that occur on the mid-month full moons that culminate in Passover.
Kabbalistic and Hasidic customs
Dried fruit and almonds traditionally eaten on Tu BiShvat Main article: Tu BiShvat seder
In the Middle Ages, Tu BiShvat was celebrated with a feast of fruits in keeping with the Mishnaic description of the holiday as a "New Year." In the 16th century, the kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed and his disciples instituted a Tu BiShvat seder in which the fruits and trees of the Land of Israel were given symbolic meaning. The main idea was that eating ten specific fruits and drinking four cups of wine in a specific order while reciting the appropriate blessings would bring human beings, and the world, closer to spiritual perfection.
In Israel, the kabbalistic Tu BiShvat seder has been revived, and is now celebrated by many Jews, religious and secular. Special haggadot have been written for this purpose.
In the Hasidic community, some Jews pickle or candy the etrog (citron) from Sukkot and eat it on Tu BiShvat. Some pray that they will be worthy of a beautiful etrog on the following Sukkot.
Customs in Israel
Tu BiShvat is the Israeli Arbor Day, and it is often referred to by that name in international media. Ecological organizations in Israel and the diaspora have adopted the holiday to further environmental-awareness programs. On Israeli kibbutzim, Tu BiShvat is celebrated as an agricultural holiday.
On Tu BiShvat 1890, Rabbi Ze'ev Yavetz, one of the founders of the Mizrachi movement, took his students to plant trees in the agricultural colony of Zichron Yaakov. This custom was adopted in 1908 by the Jewish Teachers Union and later by the Jewish National Fund (Keren HaKayemet L'Israel), established in 1901 to oversee land reclamation and afforestation of the Land of Israel. In the early 20th century, the Jewish National Fund devoted the day to planting eucalyptus trees to stop the plague of malaria in the Hula Valley; today the Fund schedules major tree-planting events in large forests every Tu BiShvat. Over a million Israelis take part in the Jewish National Fund's Tu BiShvat tree-planting activities.
In keeping with the idea of Tu BiShvat marking the revival of nature, many of Israel's major institutions have chosen this day for their inauguration. The cornerstone-laying of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem took place on Tu BiShvat 1918; the Technion in Haifa, on Tu BiShvat 1925; and the Knesset, on Tu BiShvat 1949.
So Long, Ambassador David Friedman, and Thanks for All the Fish*
Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks at the farewell for US Ambassador David Friedman at start of Sunday's Cabinet meeting:
Today we are taking our leave from US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. I must say that over the years I have met many ambassadors from many countries, including from the US, our great ally, but I can say that there was never a better ambassador than David Friedman in establishing the deep ties between Israel and the US, in correcting the diplomatic injustices that were created over the years in global diplomacy regarding Israel and in establishing the status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and many other things some of which have yet to be told.
David, I do not know, when you were appointed ambassador, if you knew the mark you would leave behind, but today we all know it. We know that you were very active in bringing about the American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, itself a correction of an injustice that is difficult to understand.
You not only did his but you acted quickly on the transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem and on the fact that in American passports it will be written 'Jerusalem – Israel.'
What could be simpler, what could be more just, than correcting this injustice? This nonsense was corrected after decades due to vigorous action by President Trump and with your encouragement and at your initiative. This is the first thing.
The second thing, you also acted to encourage recognition of our sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is also so natural and so necessary both from the perspective of justice and that of our security. You acted to correct this as well.
Third, you acted together with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to change the approach toward the communities in Judea and Samaria, to make it clear that our presence there did not contravene international law. Moreover, you also changed the definition of Judea and Samaria from occupied territories to disputed territories and this is exactly the precise definition until it was twisted by elements hostile to Israel and hostile to truth.
Moreover, you also acted, like we did at Ariel University, so that the scientific agreements between Israel and the US would also apply to the communities beyond the Green Line, and it is good that they do.
And there are two more very big things. You were a central element in planning and formulating the Trump Plan, which is the first serious plan for achieving a realistic peace between Israel and the Palestinians. What it has beyond security is – first of all – the need for the Palestinians to recognize the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people.
The absence of this recognition is the root of the conflict. This is what has been maintaining this conflict for over 100 years since before the establishment of the State of Israel: The denial of the Balfour Declaration, the denial of the partition plan, the denial of all those signs and steps that would recognize our right to a national state of our own in our historic homeland.
You also worked beyond this to expand the circle of peace and cancel the Palestinian veto that stemmed from denial of the State of Israel, in effect to wreck this veto and overcome it so that we would be able to reach peace with countries in the Arab world and the four peace agreements we made over the last four months as well as those hat will come afterward. They are the result of our joint effort, mine, President Trump's, the able team led by Jared Kushner which also included you of course, also Aryeh, who is here, Jason Greenblatt, Avi Berkowitz and others.
This was a great effort that is good for the US relations, good for Israel and good for peace. For all these David, thank you very much."
We know the depth of your feeling for the American-Israel alliance, for the State of Israel, for Jerusalem.
I think that few people can speak as you have and say we have made history. And we have. We have made history by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. This is a decision by President Trump that you supported deeply. Made history by moving the American embassy here. Made history by recognizing the Golan. Made history by inaugurating the realistic peace plan. Made history by conducting and finishing four normalization agreements that herald an era of peace between Israel and the Arab world. This is the beginning.
We've also made history by resisting Iran's attempts to achieve nuclear weapons. These are two fundamentally opposed forces – the forces of peace, moderation and progress and the forces of aggression, genocide and terror.
We have to be on the side of the good and fight and struggle constantly against the bad. It's not only for the sake of Israel and the United States, it's for the sake of all those who live in the Middle East, and beyond the Middle East, who want to see a better world, a safer world and a world that is free of the greatest terror of them all – nuclear terror.
This is something that we have joined forces with. You have been an active participant in. And I thank you for not only your personal friendship but for your enormous contribution for prosperity, security and peace.
I don't want to involve you in any more in the details of our deliberations, but I do want to say that you have been a magnificent friend, a great personal friend, you and Tammy to Sara and me.
We are really appreciative of your love for Israel, your commitment as an American patriot to strengthening America, to strengthen freedom, to fight for the common values that bind Americans and Israelis together. And I think no one has done it better than you. So thank you.
*So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, is the fourth book of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy" written by Douglas Adams. Its title is the message left by the dolphins when they departed Planet Earth just before it was demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass, as described in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The phrase has since been adopted by some people as a humorous way to say goodbye to a generous friend. A song of the same name was featured in the 2005 film adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Have a meaningful Holocaust Remembrance day today and TuBishavt starts tonight and goes through tomorrow night