As cold weather sets in, Tu B’Shevat recalls the promise of spring

By Betsy Frank

January is one of the dullest months of the year. Usually, the weather is cold and gray. Some members of our community flee to warmer climates for a few months and we miss their presence.

Yet, our Hebrew calendar provides a bit of a respite with one of four new year’s celebrations noted in the Talmud.

Beginning at sundown Sunday, January 20, and ending at sundown Monday, January 21, is Tu B’Shevat. This holiday celebrates the coming of spring in Israel and gives us hope that spring will also return to Indiana.

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Speak out, reach out to enhance understanding and combat hate

By Betsy Frank

During the seasons of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, both of which celebrate religious freedom, this is a column I did not want to write. But write I must.

On October 27, worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue were gunned down during a Shabbat morning service. This act is but one symptom of hate in our society and even our own Wabash Valley community, where anti-Semitic flyers have appeared.

As Jews, we have grown a bit complacent about our freedoms, including the freedom to pray in our synagogues without fear.

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In wake of Tree of Life Synagogue attack, UHC benefits from outpouring of love

The massacre on October 27 at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh has struck much fear into the entire American Jewish community, including ours in Terre Haute.

In the face of such tragedy, many communities around the nation have expressed support for their Jewish friends and neighbors.

Last Friday night, our own United Hebrew Congregation in Terre Haute experienced an outpouring of love from members of the Wabash Valley Christian and Muslim communities, when some 100 people joined us for our weekly Shabbat service.

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A thriving Jewish community requires more than religious ritual — it needs you!

By Betsy Frank

Isaiah, in Chapter 58, verses 1-14, cautions us that ritual without action is not enough.

We can attend our yearly services, but we need more. We must change and help others make their life journeys in our own Jewish and larger communities.

Jack Wertheimer, professor of American Jewish History at Jewish Theological Seminary, wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal column that many of us come once a year to renew connections with family and friends within the Jewish community.

We renew our personal connection to prayer during the holidays, Wertheimer said, engaging as a “community of seekers” who realize the importance of connecting our daily lives to a higher purpose.

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