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Newsletter 01/12/2011

Weekly E-Mail News
Congregation Beth Shalom

Location: 308 South B Street
Mailing address: c/o 200 West Washington
Fairfield, Iowa  52556

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Jane Pitt to lead Shabbat Services 8:00 p.m., Friday Evening, January 14 (Shevat 9)

Shabbat Services will begin at 8:00 p.m. at Beth Shalom on January 14, weather permitting.

Debbie Freidman, the songwriter who single-handedly revived Reform Judaism with her music, passed away January 9th.   Jane Pitt will lead a service in her honor.  Come together this Friday to CELEBRATE SHABBAT SHIRAH, the Sabbath of SONG.  Please come and bring instruments, celebrate, and sing with us.

Jane will bring song sheets so everyone can sing along.

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for Fairfield

Shabbat (candle lighting) begins at 4:45 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 14 Shabbat ends (Havdalah begins)  Saturday, 5:49 p.m. in Fairfield.

Tu Bishvat: Happy New Year, Trees!

Jews love a new year — this is the 2nd of three new years in the Jewish calendar year.  We also love various English spellings of our holidays.

Tu B’Shevat, the 15th of Shevat on the Jewish calendar — celebrated this year on Thursday, January 20, 2011 — is the day that marks the beginning of a “New Year for Trees.” This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle. Legally, the “New Year for Trees” relates to the various tithes that are separated from produce grown in the Holy Land. These tithes differ from year to year in the seven-year Shemittah cycle; the point at which a budding fruit is considered to belong to the next year of the cycle is the 15th of Shevat.

We mark the day of Tu B’Shevat by eating fruit, particularly from the kinds that are singled out by the Torah in its praise of the bounty of the Holy Land: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. On this day we remember that “Man is a tree of the field” (Deuteronomy 20:19) and reflect on the lessons we can derivefrom our botanical analogue.