The Congregation for Humanistic Judaism (CHJ) is hosting a Tu B’Shvat Seder at 6:00 on Saturday evening, January 26, 2013 at the Southport Congregational Church, 524 Pequot Ave, Southport. This family-friendly event provides an opportunity to contemplate our stewardship of the land and how we depend on it for sustenance, yet act as responsible caretakers so it can be passed on to future generations.
Attendees are asked to bring a dish to share at the pot luck dinner. The Congregation will supply drinks, dessert and ceremonial food. Event organizer, Marcia Kosstrin of Stamford, is excited about the entertainment. “This year the popular song leader, Adam Feder, of NYC’s Shul Band, will bring his lively and engaging music to our celebration.”
Tu B'Shvat, known as the New Year of Trees, originated in a pagan festival honoring Asherah, goddess of farmers and fertility. The festival took place at the end of the rainy season in Israel, when the sap begins to rise in the fruit trees, and the period of budding begins: the first signs of spring.
In Connecticut it is still midwinter. The trees seem forlorn and barren. Tu B’Shvat reminds us that even now, the nectar of life begins to rise again in the natural world, and we begin to look with hope to the coming spring. Jewish communities around the world celebrate Tu B'Shvat as a "Jewish Earth Day," a day of attention to healing and preserving the natural environment. Seders, tree-plantings, environmental restoration activities, and educational events are planned as a way of expressing a Jewish commitment to protecting the earth.
Marcia Kosstrin explained, “I was very excited to volunteer for the intergenerational Tu B'Shvat Seder this year. This event melds our Humanistic ideals with environmental action and the long history of the Jewish people. It is a tradition that speaks to children and adults, celebrating the earth and its bounty and our role in sustaining and protecting it. For more information or to RSVP, please call 203-226-5451.
The CHJ Sunday School provides a contemporary Jewish education for children in kindergarten through Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Children learn about Jewish holidays, history, literature, and traditions of the Jewish people in a warm, participatory environment. The curriculum is enriched by inclusion of Hebrew, music, art, dance, and crafts. Jewish and Humanistic values and their relation to interpersonal, social and environmental issues are explored in all areas of the curriculum. Small class size fosters involvement and learning. A supervised preschool playgroup is open to younger siblings 0-5 years of age. Sunday School registration is ongoing.
In addition to the Sunday School, the Congregation has a full calendar of activities for adults including Jewish holiday celebrations, a wide array of Friday and Saturday night and Sunday morning programs, discussion groups, and a book group. A calendar of upcoming events is available on CHJ’s website at www.humanisticjews.org.
Jewish and Interfaith families interested in learning about the Congregation are invited to attend this Tu B’Shvat celebration. To learn more about the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism and its programs, check the website: www.humanisticjews.org or call 203-226-5451. To learn more about the CHJ Sunday School program, email firstname.lastname@example.org.