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Written by Rabbi Weinberg    Dear Congregants and Friends,

Hard as it is to believe, the two weeks of this wonderful visit to Israel and family are rapidly coming to a close. My schedule calls for my leaving from Ben Gurion airport Sunday night (Israeli time) and arriving at Logan airport on Monday morning.

Let me share a few more experiences with you.

Written by Rabbi Norbert Weinberg    I am writing this message from Efrat.  I have just returned after a day in Geulah, a very religious section of Jerusalem.  The streets were teeming with people and cars, as the pre-Shabbat rush was beginning. There were also lots of wares out for Purim, including costumes and goodies for the mishloach manot baskets.

My schedule has been unbelievable, but instead of tiring me, it is actually a source of energy. The mornings and nights are quite cold (but not nearly as cold as Newton!) and the days are shirtsleeve warm.
Written by Jordan Lee Wagner   

planting trees for tu b'shvat (15th of Shevat)This Thursday, January 20, will be Chamisha Assar B'Shevat, known also as Tu B-Shevat.  (Both names signify the fifteenth day of the month of Shevat.)  The first mishnah in the tractate of Rosh Hashanah lists this festival as the “New Year of the Tree.”


We mark this day by refraining from reciting the somber prayer of Tachanun and by eating the fruits of trees which are grown in Israel, such as dates, figs, oranges, etc.


One important lesson to be learned from Tu B-Shevat is that, just as we have a Rosh Hashanah in the month of Tishrei, so too each tree, as well as all of Nature, is under divine jurisdiction.



Written by Robin Walker    Israelites crossing the red seaThis week's Torah portion contains the "Song of the Sea", led by Miriam and sung by B’nei Israel upon their deliverance from the Egyptians, when the Red Sea split to allow them to pass and then drowned their pursuers. Hence this Shabbat is designated as Shabbat Shira.

Our sages tell us that the birds in the sky joined our ancestors in their singing; for this reason it is customary to put out food for the birds for this Shabbat. (To avoid the possibility of transgressing the laws of Shabbat, the food should be put out before Shabbat candle lighting.)
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