IJSS Celebrates Chanukah, a New Year, and Tu Bishvat

Finally meeting Rabbi Laura Harari in person and surrounded by friends, the Institute for Judiac Services and Studies (IJSS) celebrated Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh, and Chanukah at the DesertView Theater. The services led by Rabbi Harari were held with an upbeat spirit, joy, and tradition. Sarah Boltt, our cantorial soloist, was in her prime while accompanied by David Mancini-Conway. Our services were fully energized.

Saturday morning, a Chanukah study was held. The group was enthusiastic and full of questions that led to vibrant discussions. And the latkes and doughnuts provided by IJSS were a highlight to an animated group.

It is wonderful to be with each other again!

Shabbat service will be held on Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. Rabbi Harari will officiate.

Reminder: IJSS dues for the calendar year January through December are due in January 2022. Payments can be sent to Seth Eisner, IJSS treasurer.

All about Tu B’shevat and Why a Seder?

Tu Bishvat is the beginning of the new year for trees. This year the holiday is on Jan. 17. We celebrate when the earliest blooming trees in Israel begin to bear fruit. Many eat fruit from trees on this day, including grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates. A seder to celebrate Tu Bishvat is held by eating the fruits from trees and drinking wine, or in our case grape juice. Planting trees is a common custom, or any type of plant will do. It is also a welcoming of spring.

A Happy New Year

IJSS wishes the community a Happy New Year. However, one can’t pass this by without giving some information between the secular and religious New Year’s. The Jewish New Year is called Rosh Hashanah (translated: Head of the Year) and occurs usually in September or October. The secular New Year begins on Jan. 1 following the Julian and Gregorian calendars. “Happy New Year” is the secular greeting. Jews greet each other on Rosh Hashanah with “Shanah Tovah” (translated: A good year). At midnight on Dec. 31, we sing “Auld Lang Syne” to pass from the old year and welcome the New Year. The song is based on a poem written by Robert Burns in 1788. At Rosh Hashanah, religious chants and melodies are prevalent throughout the service, including “Avinu Malkeinu.” The rock jam band (like the Grateful Dead), Phish, plays “Avinu Malkeinu” (with the words) in concert.

IJSS is a small, active, and welcoming congregation. Our members are friends, and we are a close community. If you have questions or wish to join our congregation, contact Joan Elder at 520-360-1478 or Seth Eisner at 520-818-6340 for information.

IJSS welcomes volunteers. In the past, many of us have volunteered in our Jewish communities—we hope that you will think of us now and in the future.

Happy New Year to all!