Tag Archives: Jewish Learning Center

An Eastside LA Guide to Purim

8:00 pm Megilla reading, followed by light refreshments

Sunday, March 16
9:00 am Morning Services
10:00 am and 4:00 pm Megila Reading
4:00 pm Purim Under the Sea Party

Saturday, March 15 
7:00 pm Purim Shpiel: Gypsy Rose Lee Liebowitz

Saturday March 15
6:30 pm Purim Shpiel

Saturday March 15
8:30pm Back to Shushan: A Purim Bash and Masquerade

Saturday, March 15
6:30 pm Masquerade Ball at Vibiana
Sunday March 16
10:15-11:00 am Family Megillah Reading and Purim Shpiel
11:00 am -3:00 pm Purim Carnival

Sunday, March 16
10:00 am Come as your favorite Purim character and enjoy pizza, drinks, hamentashen, games and prizes. Come join the fun. Please note this year’s celebration and carnival will be held during Religious School from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Sunday, March 16
11:00 am – 3:00 pm Purim Carnival
Wristbands for unlimited rides and games (not including food): $55 per wristband (pre-sale)
by March 7. Contact Sherryl Pinsker (424) 208-8906, spinsker@wbtla.org.

Saturday March 15
6:30 pm Megillah reading

Saturday, March 15
8:00 pm Megillah & Shpiel
9:30pm Adult Carnival

$25 Members, $30 Non-Members, which includes admission and $5 towards food or beverage). Buy your tickets here.

Sunday, March 16
10:00 am Early Childhood Carnival
11:00 am Mini-Megillah
11:30 am Room transforms for Older Kids’ Carnival featuring a performance by the band Moose
$15 Kid Members, $20 Kid Non-Members, adults included. Buy your tickets here.

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The Tu B’Shevat Hiking Seder

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Tu B’Shevat is the Jewish Arbor Day. It is a minor Jewish holiday, but it’s recently come into focus as we grapple with contemporary environmental issues and try to reconnect Judaism with its natural roots. The name Tu B’Shevat is the Hebrew pronunciation of a date in the Jewish calendar, when the holiday takes place. There are a variety of spellings in the English Transliteration.

Trees are often used as symbols in Judaism: for the torah, the Jewish people, or even a human being. There are many biblical references to trees, from Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to the Cedars of Lebanon.

Evidence of the first Tu B’Shevat seder appeared in the 17th century. The Kabbalists, or Jewish mystics, created a pamphlet called Pri Etz Hadar (The Fruit of the Majestic Tree), with prayers and meanings that followed the structure of a Passover Seder.

Tu B’Shevat Hiking Seder
Here in Southern California, we have the luxury of being able to be outside comfortably in the middle of winter (usually). Instead of sitting at a table with kids, we have a hiking seder! Starting at the base of a hill in our city park, we gather the community together and introduce the event with a song or story. We collectively make our way up the hill, carrying guitars, ukuleles, the fruits for the different realms, and little cups to drink white juice or red juice. To keep the kids in touch with their surroundings, we provide a scavenger hunt list of items for them to collect and observe. We stop and gather the group along the way for each of the 4 realms, and give a small teaching. When we reach the top there is a garden and the kids run around to explore. We might sing a song or have a final blessing. Everyone returns down the path at their leisure. At the bottom, we have a craft project for the kids (most recently, a sun catcher using found materials). If it’s not too cold, families can stay for an optional picnic!

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Tu B’Shevat Resources 

An introductory prayer via Kabbalah Online, from the original Tu B’Shevat seder in Tzefat.

Hazon offers a comprehensive list of online Tu B’Shevat resources, including songs with recordings, and pdfs for you to lead a tu B’Shevat seder in your home.

NeoHasid has a simple, beautiful resource for a seder, very suited for a secular community. The guide presents simple discussion questions for each seasonal realm.

Aish has online published a more traditional, dense Seder via A Person is Like a Tree: A Sourcebook for Tu BeShvat, by Yitzhak Buxbaum (Jason Aronson Inc.). It walks you through an entire Seder with readings and responses from the leader, as well as rabbinic texts and torah based quotes.

Aish also offers an interesting article on how trees can serve as inspiration. What trees are in your life? What are some facts about them? How to they inspire you?

Hillel, the foundation for Jewish campus life, has a pdf of the tu B’Shevat seder including the history of Tu B’Shevat in the appendix, geared toward college students.

The Lookstein Center has even more printable Seders and resources! It includes Babaganewz’s zionist seder, and a program for 3-5 year olds.

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Kid Crafts: Rosh Hashanah

Apple Stamped Fall Scarves or Tallitot

These brilliant apple stamps can be used on banners, card stamps, or on fabric cut into the shape of a scarf or a mini tallit. It’s a chance to explain what a tallit is and why they might see it in synagogue on the high holidays! Discuss “holy” clothing. Are there clothes that you wear that make you feel special? Recognize and be thankful we have clothing and shoes, unlike a lot of people in the world. If you have a tallit have your kid try it on. Ask: How do you feel? Protected? Take that idea with you into the New Year and wear your tallit if you go to synagogue for the high holidays.

Make a Mezuza
Find every kind of mezuza you could want to make from the Bible Belt Balabusta. (Including a Pezuza!) Discuss beginning the year with a symbol on your door. Explain what the mezuza is and what is inside of it. You can do the prayer together and practice it. Have kids write their own wish for the New Year inside, accompanying the Shema.

Brain Bubble
Draw a self-portrait or cut out a portrait photograph with little thought bubbles coming out. Write out one-word dreams for the New Year. Use magazines etc for collage.

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New Year Cards (Vintage Style!)
It’s common to make cards for the New Year and send to friends and family. Try sending a card to your future self to see if you achieve your goals! Or make a card to people who are less fortunate to emphasize tzeddakah. You can use apple stamps for the cover or magazines for collage. I found these awesome Vintage RH postcards. Print them postcard size in black and white and kids can color them in with colored pencils and paste them onto cards or watercolor paper.

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