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Digging for spiritual growth on Tu b’Shvat

Digging for spiritual growth on Tu b’Shvat

LOS ANGELES — While my neighbors were putting their Christmas trees to the curb, in what seems like a ritual of replacement, I was preparing to plant for Tu b’Shvat.

My friend Freda recently presented me a cutting from an Angel’s trumpet — a small tree with beautiful, large, pendulous white flowers that grows in her yard — and to observe the New Year of the Trees on Jan. 16, I wanted to get it in the ground.

Looking around the garage for a shovel, I wondered if there were a Jewish ceremony for planting a tree.

A Tu b’Shvat seder introduces philosophical concepts into the holiday. But could I skip the four cups of wine — you start with white and gradually add more red to each cup — and just do something shorter and, well, more down to earth to help observe what some have called Jewish Arbor Day?

Last Updated ( Monday, 13 January 2014 03:47 )

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At 91, Harvey Pollack is still NBA’s leading scorer

At 91, Harvey Pollack is still NBA’s leading scorerPHILADELPHIA — Fittingly, Harvey Pollack was the one who scribbled the number 100 on the most famous photograph in basketball history: Wilt Chamberlain holding the piece of paper signifying his astounding point total in a 1962 game for the then Philadelphia Warriors. After all, Pollack is basketball’s ultimate numbers and public relations man. But the scrawling is hardly Pollack’s sole legacy in a nearly seven-decade career in basketball. He was the first to track a player’s blocked s...
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Baseball historian loves fact and legend alike

Baseball historian loves fact and legend alikeCATSKILL, NY — The past escorts John Thorn home from the moment he greets a visitor at a 139-year-old railroad station, crosses the Rip Van Winkle Bridge and arrives at his residence, a county historical landmark. Clad in a facsimile jacket of the defunct Negro Leagues’ Kansas City Monarchs, he enters the billiards room of his home in this Hudson River town 35 miles south of Albany, its walls crammed with old framed prints and theater posters. The environment befits the official historian ...

Last Updated ( Friday, 20 December 2013 01:14 )

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Two IJN staffers publish books

Two IJN staffers publish books A book of stories from around the world; a memoir of survival with Bielski partisans TWO IJN staff members published books this month. IJN Executive Editor Rabbi Hillel Goldberg published The Unexpected Road: Storied Jewish Lives around the World (Feldheim Publishers). This is his sixth book. IJN Senior Writer Andrea Jacobs co-authored the story of Paula Burger’s survival during the Holocaust in the forests of Belarus under the leadership of Tuvia Bielski, made famous by the movie, “De...

Last Updated ( Friday, 13 December 2013 06:14 )

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A Zionist’s polemic: a dismal prognosis comes true

A Zionist’s polemic: a dismal prognosis comes trueI REMEMBER reading the first edition of this book when it came out in 1977 and how depressed it made me feel. Now I have reread it in its new edition some 36 years later (published by Gefen), and it makes me even more depressed, for some of the things that he complained about then are even more true today. Halkin’s arguments, very simply, are that Jewish life outside of Israel has no future, and that Israel urgently needs American Jews, and that, for these two reasons, serious American Jews n...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 December 2013 12:48 )

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