We’re excited to announce a Tu B’Shevat Shabbaton, the weekend of Jan. 22, with three events, all led by visiting Rabbi Michael Strassfeld, Rabbi Emeritus of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism. The Shabbaton will be environmentally-themed throughout.
- Our regular Fourth Friday Kabbalat Shabbat service and potluck, at the JCC. This will start with a Tot Shabbat gathering for preschoolers and their families, at 5:45 pm. Childcare (and pizza for the kids) are available starting 6:15. (RSVP to Clare Kinberg for either or both.) The service starts at 6:30. Bring something for the vegetarian potluck dinner that follows.
- Saturday text study and discussion: 4 pm
- Saturday Tu B’Shevat Seder: 5:30 pm. With vegetarian supper. Free, but reservations are required. RSVP at http://shabbaton-FoodLandJustice.eventbrite.com. Note: there will be a separate kid-friendly event at the same time, done in time for its participants to join the full group for supper.
Rabbi Strassfeld explains: “The classic Jewish texts about the environment [Deuteronomy 20:19-20; Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings and Wars 6:8, 10] prohibit the wanton destruction of nature. The stress on wanton destruction implies that the destruction of natural resources is permissible if it benefits human beings. For the text study on Shabbat, we will study other Jewish texts to see how Judaism can help us to create a contemporary environmental ethic rooted in the value of all things.”
The Tu B’Shevat seder that will follow is structured around eating of four different kinds of fruit, coupled with readings, songs and kavanot/reflections. The Kabbalists of Safed created a Tu B’Shevat seder in the 17th century, loosely modeled on the Passover seder. Over the past several decades, Jews across the world have used Tu B’Shevat as a time to focus on the environment. Rabbi Strassfeld notes, “Our Tu B’Shevat seder will combine the focus on personal growth of the Jewish mystics with contemporary ecological concerns.” Detroit’s Congregation T’Chiyah and its Rabbi, Alana Alpert, will be joining the Ann Arbor community for the seder, as will several Hazon Detroit fellows.
The events are co-sponsored by AARC and the Jewish Alliance for Food, Land, & Justice. They are a continuation from last year’s year-long exploration of the teachings of Shmita, and are funded by an impact grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor. AARC and the Alliance welcome all community members to join any or all these Shabbaton activities; the events are free, but online registration is required.
Our flyer is below. Please feel free to download, print and share it!2015-12-Shabbaton-ad
Rabbi Michael Strassfeld is the author, editor, or co-editor of numerous books and articles, including three versions of the Jewish Catalog, A Shabbat Haggadah: Ritual and Study Texts for the Home; and Jewish Holidays, a guide to the holidays used in many Jewish households. Since the 1973 appearance of the first Jewish Catalog, subtitled “a do it yourself kit,” Rabbi Strassfeld’s books have been the go-to publications for progressive American Jews seeking explanations, contemporary readings, and resources relating to traditions and holidays.