Category Archives: Jewish Life

Connecting environmental and racial justice on Tu B’Shvat and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

My nine-year-old and I were updating his PJ Library reusable wall calendar for January, when he noticed Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish holiday celebrating the new year of the trees, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, fall on the same day this year, Monday, January 17.

As we look ahead to Tu B’Shvat, we can be mindful of Dr. King’s work, how climate justice and racial justice are linked, and how we can bridge the Jewish values of caring for our planet and working toward a more just world together.

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King’s words continue to ring true, as we look back on his legacy and wonder if we have gotten closer to achieving his dream for an equitable world.

While Tu B’Shvat is traditionally a holiday focused on trees, specifically the trees of Israel, and celebrating the land, the festival can be used an opportunity for both Jews and non-Jews a like to consider the topic of environmental justice.

Tu B’Shvat is the perfect time to ask ourselves, and our children, do we have access to clean water? Can we breathe clean air? Do we live in a place that is safe from the impact of hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters? Are we close to parks, nature centers, and other places for appreciating the environment?

If the answer to these questions is yes, we can take the opportunity to think about how others might be living, and note how environmental inequality is very much an issue in the U.S. and beyond.

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Menorahs, Maccabees and more: Hanukkah explained

The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah began on Sunday evening, and you may have noticed your friends sharing pictures and videos of their Hanukkah festivities.

Hanukkah is a joyous celebration, and a popular Jewish festival. It is my kids’ favorite holiday, and for good reason! Who doesn’t love eight days of food, family and gifts?

Hanukkah is also one of the few Jewish observances those who aren’t Jewish (or connected to Judaism in some way) are familiar with, yet, despite the popularity of the holiday, many do not understand the full meaning and history behind Hanukkah.

As a Jew, and a mom, who cares about educating the world about Judaism, in hopes this might make others more tolerant and prevent antisemitism, I wanted to write this post to explain a bit more about Hanukkah.

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Recipes, books, games and more — PJ Library’s got everything you need to celebrate Hanukkah

Hanukkah is almost here, and I can already smell the latkes and see my kids smiling from all the holiday fun.

If your family is like mine, your kids are already looking forward to Hanukkah, and you are ready to make some special memories.

To help families embrace and share the joy of The Festival of Lights, PJ Library has updated its “Hanukkah Hub” for 2021 to bring Jewish and Interfaith families games, projects, recipes and more ways to make this year’s holiday one the family will cherish for years to come.

Photo Courtesy Of PJ Library

Whether you are looking for ways to mix up your latke recipe, or instructions on how to light the holiday candles, PJ Library is your go-to source for all things Hanukkah.

You already trust PJ Library to curate and deliver quality Jewish books to your family, so you can be sure that they have an excellent selection of activities to make Hannukkah a blast for all eight nights.

PJ Library’s Hanukkah Hub is free to use, and anyone is welcomed to visit PJ Library to browse all of their wonderful Hanukkah books, activities, and recipes.

For more information on PJ Library, and how you can enroll your children in their free book subscription service for Jewish families, visit PJLibrary.org.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All views expressed are my own.

FREE Hannukah coloring pages: Dreidels, Dinos and Donuts!

Channukah, Hannukah, Hanukah, however you spell it, the Festival Of Lights is coming soon!

Though I am far from a professional artist, I was inspired to create these whimsical, Hannukah coloring pages to help kids of all ages get into the Hannukah spirit.

I hope you enjoy these, and please give me feedback on ways to improve my designs, or other ones you may like to see in the future.

Happy Hannukah and happy coloring!

How To Celebrate Lag B’Omer

Lag B’Omer is a lesser-known Jewish celebration, which commerorates the 33rd day of the Omer, or time between the Jews leaving Egypt and their receiving of the Torah 40 days later.

So, what’s so special about the 33rd day, and why do we honor this occasion?

The answer depends on who you ask. However, many scholars believe Lag B’Omer is observed because, according to the Talmud, during the Omer, the esteemed sage Rabbi Akiva’s students were killed by the thousands, on all the days, save for the 33rd one.

Yikes! Seems like a dark reason for a celebration, but hey, have you seen pretty much every other Jewish festival? Celebrating not getting killed is our bread and butter, or bagel and schmear, if you prefer.

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