What does a Jewish holiday for trees and Martin Luther King, Jr. have in common? A lot, actually.
This year, both Tu Bishvat and MLK Day of Service fall on Monday, January 21. (Hey, it’s no…Thanksgivukkah, but we’ll take it!) The former celebrates the life of trees, and the latter celebrates the life of an influential American civil rights leader. Both holidays are commemorated by giving back to the earth and our communities — so it's a pretty cool opportunity for a cultural mashup and a prime "teaching moment" you… >> Read More
Tu Bishvat is around the corner, and the chorus to that song I learned in Jewish day school has been stuck in my head for the past week... And if you went to Hebrew school as a kid — or your kids…are enrolled in one now — then surely you know the one: Tu Bishvat higiyah, chag Ha'Ilanot! ("Tu Bishvat is here, the holiday for trees!"). Although it's technically regarded as a minor holiday, let's all agree that Tu Bishvat is seriously important (not to mention awesome). Celebrating trees and planting new ones as our ancestors did… >> Read More
Turns out, it is still hard to be the Jewish kid at Christmas time. Even in 2018. Even in Los Angeles and its environs. Or suburban New York. Or the North Shore suburbs of Chicago.
As a rabbi, I…often field the Jewish questions from friends; I’m basically their go-to Jewish Google. So, imagine my embarrassment when I couldn’t easily answer a question from my oldest and dearest friend, who now lives in a very Jewish suburb of New York. Turns out, her daughter — now attending public kindergarten — has, surprise surprise, begun… >> Read More
Two rolls of glittery wrapping paper poked out of my shopping bag as I approached my kids' school bus stop. It was just a few days after Halloween, and they caught my friend’s eye. “Are those…dreidels?” she asked. “Wow, you’re on top of it! I haven’t even started to think about Christmas.” My family does not usually describe me as “on top of it” when it comes to the holiday season. Two days before Thanksgiving, the grandmas had already started begging for the kids’ Hanukkah wish lists; I didn’t even… >> Read More
We have certainly come a long way when it comes to accurate portrayals of Jews and Jewish themes in movies and TV. But for some reason, one thing that’s seriously lacking — yes, still, in 2018…— is the amount of films that exist about Hanukkah. Despite growing up in a relatively observant home, I pretty much spent the December breaks of my youth watching Christmas movies like Santa Clause and Home Alone because the Jewish holiday movies were so scarce — A Rugrats Chanukah and Eight Crazy Nights get old really quickly, let me… >> Read More