The Day After Tu b’Shevat: 10 Ways To Celebrate The Trees Year-Round

Maybe it’s spring in Israel, but in our area, Tu b’Shevat found us buried in snow with well below freezing temperatures.

We sang and danced with Rabbi Tom…

Still, the celebration went forward at MCJC even though we didn’t get to plant trees outdoors as we enjoyed the first warming rays of spring sunshine. And we have some great pictures to show for it! Here we are, singing and dancing with Rabbi Tom — and making bird feeders for our feathered friends.

Here are 10 things to do year-round to celebrate trees and birds and the natural world that surrounds us:

  1. Take a family walk through the woods — even when it’s filled with snow. Robert Frost thought it was especially beautiful then. You can enjoy it too!
  2. Try growing fresh veggies from food scraps.
  3. Keep the faith: warmer days will come. You can get more from your garden when it does get warm enough to plant if you get things started indoors early.
  4. Enjoy this great Ted Talk about the tiny kingdom of Bhutan, how it is becoming a carbon “sink” for the world.
  5. Talk about what the Tanach (Jewish Bible) has to say about the environment.  When you finish the quotes in this article, follow the links to more material. Family members can take turns tracking down quotes from the Bible and from rabbinic texts, bringing one to each meal to share with the family and discuss.
  6. Share a “sourced” meal. Ask family members to share in some
    We made bird feeders for our feathered friends.

    detective work, finding out where each food item came from. Where and how was it produced? Were animals involved? How were they treated? Were people involved? Were they respected and pair fairly for their labor? What kind of energy was involved in producing the food item?

  7. Inventory your home to see how you can reduce food waste.
  8. Inventory your home to see where you use plastic. How can you reduce the impact of plastic on the environment by using less or repurposing what plastic you do use?
  9. Read together as a family these two books by forester, Peter Wohlleben: The Hidden Life of Trees and The Inner Life of Animals. 
  10. Conscious choice: it’s a buzz phrase today, but conscious choice is what kashrut, the Jewish dietary laws, are all about. Now we know that what we eat impacts the environment as well. What can you learn together about how food is produced in the U.S. today? What Judaism says about the food we eat? (Hint: it depends). Richard Schwartz, founder of the Jewish Vegetarian Society, JVS.org, has gathered a significant body of material from Tanach and rabbinic texts about vegetarianism and the environment. You can find this material here: The Schwartz Collection on Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Animal Rights and here: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/rabbinic-teachings-on-vegetarianism

These activities all have a common purpose: thoughtful renewal of our relationship to the environment and the food it provides. Great ways to celebrate Tu b’Shevat year-round.

Save the Date March 10: Charles Troy Comes to MCJC with Acclaimed “The Creation of West Side Story” Show

The Creation of West Side Story

The MCJC Let’s Have Fun Together Committee is pleased to announce that Charles Troy will present his highly acclaimed “The Creation of West Side Story” show at MCJC on Sunday, March 10 at 1:30 pm.

This 90 minute multimedia show was a huge entertainment success, receiving a standing ovation, this past summer at the Woodstock Opera House.  It’s a show you won’t want to miss! Plan to bring your family and friends to share this delightful and informative entertainment experience. Free child care is available if needed.

Charles Troy is America’s most celebrated dramatic musical theater historian/storyteller. He has developed more than fifty multimedia shows on musical theater subjects. His presentations are informative, highly entertaining, and have been embraced by audiences nationwide.

Mr. Troy is based in Chicago and performs extensively in Chicago North Shore communities and appears on a monthly basis at the Skokie Theater. He has been featured twice on the front page of the Arts & Entertainment section of the Chicago Tribune. The late Roy Leonard, former theater critic for WGN-TV, wrote in his blog in 2014, “I first saw Charles Troy a few months back at the Skokie Theater and have been back three times since, learning things I never knew about Broadway musicals I’ve enjoyed for years.”

RSVP and advance ticket purchase are required. Tickets are $15/per person.  Please RSVP via the calendar listing on this site (in the calendar, click on the March 10 listing to go to a registration page) or by calling the MCJC office at 815-455-1810.

You may purchase your tickets securely with your online RSVP by credit card or PayPal, or you may send a check made out to MCJC to:

McHenry County Jewish Congregation
8617 Ridgefield Rd.
Crystal Lake, IL 60012
Attn: Tickets

Please RSVP and purchase your tickets early to avoid disappointment in the event of sellout. We will hold your tickets for you at the door.

If you have questions about the show, please contact Bruce Weiss via email (funtogether@mcjconline.org).

We will provide child care during the show if needed. You may indicate your requirements when you register.

A refreshment social immediately follows Charles Troy’s presentation.

“The Creation of West Side Story” is brought to you by MCJC’s Let’s Have Fun Together program.

Extending Shabbat – Community Havdalah and Extended Kiddush

Our MCJC family likes to get together in different ways to extend Shabbat. Sometimes we share a Community Havdalah Program, and sometimes we share an Extended Kiddush.

We will gather on Shabbat afternoon, February 2 at 4:30 pm for Havdalah and immediately following the service on Shabbat morning, February 9 for an Extended Kiddush.

The Community Havdalah Program has a family focus, and the Extended Kiddush has an adult focus. At both celebrations, we enjoy light fare, Zemirot, and Talmud Torah. We invite you to bring vegetarian items to share.

Please join your MCJC family for these Extended Shabbat experiences, Community Havdalah on Saturday, February 2, 4:30 pm, and Extended Kiddush on Saturday, February 9, immediately following services.

And we hope you will join us every Shabbat for community sharing, prayer and study.

Upcoming at MCJC Week of January 15, 2019

For more information about any of these listings, please visit our website, either the provided links or the MCJC Calendar at mcjconline.org/events.

Wednesday, January 16
1:00 pm: Lunch and Learn
4:30 pm: Religious School
6:30 pm: Ritual Committee Meeting

Friday, January 18 
6:30 pm: Community Shabbat Potluck Dinner

Saturday, January 19
9:30 am: Shabbat Morning Services & Torah Discussion

Sunday, January 20
9:30 am: Religious School
10:40 am: Tu B’Shvat Seder Celebration – Parents and friends are welcome to join us. We will sample tree fruits, plant seeds, make bird feeders and play an environmental trivia game.
NO Adult Education

January 23
1:00 pm: Lunch and Learn
4:30 pm: Religious School

Friday, January 25 
NO Community Shabbat Potluck Dinner

Saturday, January 26
9:30 am: Shabbat Morning Services & Torah Discussion

Sunday, January 27
8:00 am: Board Meeting
9:30 am: Religious School
11:00 am: Adult Education

SAVE THE DATE!
March 10: Charles Troy Comes to MCJC with Acclaimed “The Creation of West Side Story” Show. (Please note this date change).

This is an MCJC event you won’t want to miss! The show is followed with light refreshments, and free babysitting is available — but you must RSVP here or call the office at 815-455-1810.

Read all about this wonderful event.

From Kveller.com: The Shabbat Version of ‘Baby Shark’ Will Blow You Out of the Water

Read more about this really, really, really popular  video and other great things to enjoy with your kids here: https://www.kveller.com/the-shabbat-version-of-baby-shark-will-blow-you-out-of-the-water/

And watch it here or on Kveller:

From Kveller: If you are a parent to young children, you may have heard the song “Baby Shark” about, oh, some 235,000 to 2.3 million times already. The 60-minute loop of the hit kid song (and dance) has, impressively but unsurprisingly, over 30 million views.

But now, there’s a Jewish version of this ear worm that’s equally annoy… I mean, catchy. Jewish a cappella group the Maccabeats have put out a parody of “Baby Shark” that’s guaranteed to get your kids excited about the holiest day of the week: Shabbat!

Called simply, “It’s Shabbat!” the song chronicles all the awesomeness of this holiday, including challah, yummy food, and every exhausted parents favorite Saturday afternoon activity: nap time. With adorable animation and a cute Shabbat-themed dance, it’s sure to get your kids dancing and singing this Friday (and every) evening!

Religious School News Week of January 15, 2019

It was great seeing our parents and students again after the break. Welcome back!

This week: Wednesday is regular religious school for grades 3-7. This Sunday, January 20 we observe Havdalah at 9:30 am followed by class time (Hebrew for the upper grades).

Beginning at 10:40 am, we will enjoy a special Tu Bi-sh’vat Celebration. Parents and friends are welcome to join us. We will sample tree fruits, plant seeds, make bird feeders and play an environmental trivia game.

Other reminders: Please bring in snacks for the second half of the year. They can be bulk or, if you prefer, cash donations are acceptable.

If your child will be absent, remember to email school@mcjconline.org or text 847-373-3186.

Torah: Learning to Be in Relationships

Beshallach

Please join us for Shabbat worship and Torah study at 9:30 am.

We continue to explore the theme of relationships and healthy dependency through the prism of the manna.  We  also will focus on last year’s session on Beshallach. In addition, we will explore extended passages in this week’s Haftarah reading from Judges, the Song of Deborah.

Torah: Exodus 13:17 – 17:16 – Click here.
Haftarah: Judges 4:4 – 5:31 – Click here.

This week our readings and Torah discussion focus on:

Torah (Parshat Beshallach, Sefer Shemot):

1. Ex 15: 20-21, p. 412
2. Ex 15: 22-25, p. 413
3. Ex 15: 26-27, p. 413

Haftarah:

Judges 4:4 – 5:31, p. 424

Upcoming at MCJC Week of January 8, 2019

For more information about any of these listings, please visit our website, either the provided links or the MCJC Calendar at mcjconline.org/events.

Wednesday, January 9
1:00 pm: Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Tom
4:30 pm: Religious School

Thursday, January 10
7:00 pm: MCJC Book Club discusses Three Floors Up with Rachel Kamin

Friday, January 11 
NO Community Shabbat Potluck Dinner

Saturday, January 12
9:30 am: Shabbat Morning Services & Torah Discussion
Extended Kiddush until 3:30 following morning service to include light fare, Zemirot, Talmud Torah. You are invited to share vegetarian items.

Sunday, January 13
9:30 am: Religious School
11:00 am: Adult Education with Rabbi Tom

Wednesday, January 16
1:00 pm: Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Tom
4:30 pm: Religious School 
6:30 pm: Ritual Committee Meeting

SAVE THE DATE!
March 10: Charles Troy Comes to MCJC with Acclaimed “The Creation of West Side Story” Show. (Please note this date change).

This is an MCJC event you won’t want to miss! The show is followed with light refreshments, and free babysitting is available — but you must RSVP here or call the office at 815-455-1810.

Read all about this wonderful event.

MCJC Book Club Meets This Week

Following a Jewish thread yet mixing up the genres, MCJC’s Book Club will tackle an Israeli novella series, a split-screen work of historical fiction, and an autobiographical account of what it means to be Jewish in modern day New York.

The group will meet at MCJC on Thursday, Jan. 10 at 7 pm to discuss Three Floors Up by Israeli writer Eshkol Nevo. This compilation of three novellas explores the interconnected lives of the residents of an upper middle-class Tel Aviv apartment building, people whose turmoils, secrets, confessions, and decisions reveal the ills of a society with an identity crisis.  

Next, on Thursday, March 14, the group will gather to discuss The Cloister by James Carroll. A priest and a Holocaust survivor find their perspectives and senses of identity reshaped by their shared investigation into the classic romance between discredited religious scholar Peter Abelard and his intellectual paramour, Heloise.

Finally, on Thursday, May 30, the group will discuss My Jewish Year by Abigail Pogrebin. Although she grew up following some holiday rituals, Pogrebin realized how little she knew about their foundational purpose and contemporary relevance. She wanted to understand what had kept these holidays alive and vibrant and chronicles her journey into the spiritual heart of Judaism in this captivating, educational, and inspiring memoir.  

All are welcome to participate in the Book Club at any time. Rachel Kamin, director of the cultural and learning center at North Suburban Synagogue Beth-El, facilitates all discussions.

We encourage participants to make a donation of $36 to MCJC to help cover the cost of the facilitator. For more information, contact Rita Janowitz at books@mcjconline.org.  

The Jewish Heart of McHenry County