Skip to content

Newsletter 02/08/2012

Congregation Beth Shalom

Weekly News and Updates, February 8, 2012
Tu B’Shavat is today; Shabbat services Friday, February 10; Candle lighting times; Thanks; Free Trip to Israel



Tu B’Shevat in a Minute

Reforested hillside along the road to
Jerusalem. “Demonstrating reforestation
possibilities” (circa 1930)

Submitted by Jewish Resource Center of Iowa
When’s the last time you wished a tree Happy New Year? The 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat — Wednesday, February 8 in 2012 –is a great opportunity. It’s known as Tu B’Shevat, the New Year for Trees.

Why do trees celebrate their New Year so much later than ours? It has to do with the rainy season in Israel, which commences with the festival of Sukkot. It takes four months for the rains to saturate the soil, nurture the trees and coax them into producing fruit. This is important to know if you are planning to give your tithes of fruits, as is done in the Land of Israel, because the required tithes vary from year to year. It’s also important if you are a tree and looking for something to celebrate.

We humans can also celebrate along with the trees. After all, the Torah says, “Man is a tree of the field.” We are nurtured by deep roots, as far back as Abraham and Sarah; we reach upwards to the heavens while standing firmly on the ground; and when we do all this right, we produce fruits that benefit the world—namely, our good deeds.

Traditional Observances:

Eat some fruit on this day. Best if you can get some of those fruits for which Israel is famous: olives, dates, grapes, figs and pomegranates.

The blessing on fruit:

Ba-ruch atah Ado-nai, Elo-hei-nu me-lech ha-olam, borei pri ha-etz.


[Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the tree.]

If tasting a fruit for the first time in its season, recite the Shehecheyanu blessing before saying the fruit blessing:

Ba-ruch a-tah Ado-nai, Elo-hei-nu me-lech ha-olam, she-heche-ya-nu ve-ki-ye-ma-nu ve-higi-a-nu liz-man ha-zeh.

[Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.]

Some have the custom to eat carob. The master Kabbalist Arizal would eat fifteen types of fruit on this day!

Click here for more on Tu B’Shevat, including insights on its mystical significance.



Sabbath Services at 8:00 p.m., Friday Evening, February 10
(18 Sh’vat)

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for Fairfield

Shabbat (candle lighting) begins at 5:18 p.m. on Friday, February 10. Shabbat ends (Havdalah begins) Saturday, 6:19 p.m. in Fairfield.


Thanks for Shabbat Shira

Thanks to Jane Pitt, for her leading the Shabbat Shira service, with her singing, playing and song-leading.
   And thanks to everyone who participated in song and/or dance.

Free Trip to Israel for Young Jewish Educators

Below is a GREAT opportunity for a free trip to Israel for anyone in your community who is:

·       Working in part-time Jewish education.

·       Is between ages 18-29.

·       Is Jewish.

·       Has never been on a peer trip to Israel.




Dear All,

Last summer, the Teacher Trek journey began…and it continues this  upcoming summer.      

Twenty-eight dynamic American complementary Jewish educators participated in Taglit-Birthright Israel Teacher Trek.   The group, which represented educators from a variety of Jewish education settings – congregational, non-congregational, JCCs, Chabads and community schools – developed personal attachments to Israel and participated in professional development opportunities.   Taglit-Birthright Israel awarded the first-ever Teacher Trek with “Best Implementation of a Niche Bus.”

This summer,  PELIE,  the Partnership for Effective learning and innovative education,  will again sponsor Teacher Trek and is excited that they have again expanded the age limit to include participants between the ages of 18-29.

Registration for Taglit-Birthright Israel Teacher Trek is fast approaching!!  We want to make sure all potential participants are aware of this opportunity ESPECIALLY because of the short time window for registration. We also want to alert you to the updates below.

Please pass this email along with our new video about the trip to potential participants AND those that may know potential participants!

1.)    Registration for Teacher Trek begins on February 15, 2012 at 10:00 am ET

If you applied for a Birthright trip in the past, you will have access to early registration on February 14, 2012 at noon ET.  You must log in with the user name (email) and password under which you previously registered.

Register at Be sure to click on SHORASHIM as the trip organizer and “Teacher Trek” as your trip choice! Please note, the application site has not launched yet, as registration is not yet open.

2.)    Tentative dates for the trip are: June 11-June 22, 2012. Please note that these dates are subject to change!

3.)    Please sign up for updates at to receive the most up-to-date information from PELIE and Shorashim.


Adena Raub Dershowitz
Information Manager
318 W. 39th Street, 5th floor
New York, NY 10018