PRS Celebrates Tu B’shevat, New Year of the Trees, Jan. 25

Guest Rabbi Claire Ginsburg Goldstein to lead services

On Friday evening, Jan. 25, the Philipstown Reform Synagogue (PRS) will welcome friends and congregants to celebrate Tu B’shevat, the Jewish New Year of the Trees. Guest Rabbi Claire Ginsburg Goldstein will lead the observances, including a special Tu B’shevat “seder.” Guests are invited to gather at St. Mary’s Parish Hall at 5:30 p.m. Observances will begin at 6 p.m. with Shabbat candlelighting and a short service, followed by the seder and a potluck dinner. With its emphasis on fruit, the Tu B’shevat seder is a special favorite for kids and family members of all ages.

Tu B’shevat may have originally been an agricultural festival, marking the emergence of spring. The theme most commonly ascribed to the holiday today is the environment. It is considered a festival of nature, full of wonder, joy and thankfulness for God’s creation and renewal of the natural world. It is also a tree planting festival in Israel, in which both Israelis and Jews around the world plant trees in honor or in memory of a loved one or friend. The Tu B’shevat seder can be traced back to the Jewish mystics of the 17th century, who created a special ritual modeled after the Passover seder, to celebrate God’s presence in nature.

Goldstein is currently the Jewish resource supervisor at Surprise Lake Camp in Cold Spring and has also worked as a Jewish educator at various synagogues, including Congregation Beth Israel/Beth Sholom in Teaneck, N.J., and Temple Israel of Ridgewood, N.J.

All are welcome to attend this event. St. Mary’s Parish Hall is at the corners of Routes 9D and 301 in Cold Spring. There will be a suggested donation of $15 per family at the door. Those wishing to bring a dish should contact PRS. Drinks are BYOB. Reservations are appreciated for planning purposes. At all PRS gatherings, donations of canned goods and money are collected for the Philipstown Food Pantry.

PRS is marking its 10th year anniversary. The synagogue was created in 2002 with the purpose of creating an inclusive venue to investigate the practice of Judaism, both intellectually and spiritually. PRS hosts monthly services and holiday events, provides religious education and offers opportunities to participate in social welfare activities. PRS can be found on the web at and contacted by calling 845-265-8011 or by email at [email protected].

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