A Holiday Every Day
Tu B’Shevat was on January 31, 2018, but at ECDC, Tu B’Shevat is….well, every day!
How exactly is that possible? By planting seeds, eating fruits, and taking nature walks! By appreciating what trees give us – shade, beauty, paper and wood! By learning facts about trees and interpreting trees with pencil or paint. By respecting our environment and being guardians of the earth, Shomrei Adamah. And by singing songs about trees…day-in and day-out!
At ECDC it is our intention to interweave Jewish values into what we do – not only on holidays – but every day. This is our challenge and purpose. But even if we can achieve our goal for Tu B’Shevat, can we also celebrate other holidays every day?
With the help of Rabbi Locketz, ECDC Educators are reflecting on these questions. Currently we are studying Purim. Admittedly Tu B’Shevat makes it easy for us – Purim does not. How would it be possible to celebrate Purim every day? Certainly we are not baking hamantaschen and shaking groggers at the name of Haman on a daily basis. However, as we study the sources, we learn the underlying precepts:
In the Book of Esther, we read that Purim is a time for “feasting and merrymaking,” as well as for “sending gifts to one another and presents to the poor” (Esther 9:22). In addition to reading the M’gillah (Book of Esther), celebrants dress in costumes, have festive parties, perform “Purim-spiels,” silly theatrical adaptations of the story of the M’gillah, send baskets of food (mishloach manot) to friends, and give gifts to the poor (matanot l’evyonim). https://reformjudaism.org/purim-customs-and-rituals
These are known as the four mitzvot of Purim:
- Reading (and listening to) the M’gillah (Book of Esther)
- Feasting and merry making
- Giving baskets of food to friends (Mishloach Manot)
- Giving gifts to the needy (Matanot L’Evyonim)
Suddenly it becomes clear that we can celebrate Purim at ECDC every day – by reading and listening; facing each day with good cheer; by giving to friends, by thinking of others who have greater needs.
Daily interweaving of Jewish values is a foundational tenet of the Pittsburgh Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative (JECEI), a program supported by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. We are grateful to Rabbi Locketz and the Pittsburgh JECEI consultants for their partnership on this journey. Rather than beginning and ending celebrations strictly by the calendar, we are in search of the values that apply on a daily basis. As we next prepare for Passover, we will continue to ask “how do the lessons of the holiday apply to us every day?”