Four Worlds

Tu Bi Shevat South African Style

We were in Cape Town, South Africa, my husband's country of birth. Sandwiched between the eerily flat-topped Table Mountain and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans is the beautiful Cape Peninsula with more species of flora and fauna than the entire continent of Europe. Architecturally stunning homes overlook the seething seas, lush vineyards ascend the mountains. On each visit I stand agape within Kirstenbosch Gardens which guard the remaining species of trees that go back to primordial times, a vision of the Garden of Eden.

A Map of a Shabbat Morning Prayer Service

Have you wondered if there's a shape to Jewish services? There is actually a beautiful flow and careful sequencing developed by the ancestors. We begin at ground level as individuals with prayers of gratitude for body, mind and soul. We ascend into the level of raising emotions with psalm singing where we begin to feel more like a community gathered than individuals assembling.

Tu Bi Shevat Seder: One page, simple, fruitful and deep

Tu Bishevat is the Jewish festival of the fruit trees. A time to marvel at the miracle of the many types of fruits, to consider their metaphorical possibilities, and to focus on tikkun olam for nature and for our own natures.

What Is Tashlikh? How Do I Do Tashlich?

Tashlikh is the practice of standing before a body of water and tossing some fish food to represent the remaining sticky points within your persona that get in the way of your having/creating a good year. This is a gestalt type of experience, where you let go of clinging behaviors, memories and experiences. Good ritual facilitates desired change. The symbolism is like that of the scapegoat, you put into the crumbs what about yourself most needs to change, drop it into the water for the fish to transform. Water is the symbol for overflowing loving-kindness in Judaism, and is a powerful ritual tool for assisting in desired transformations.