While many of our people are enjoying Florida or Arizona, we here at Beth El can enjoy a whole variety of activities in town. Come to our New Year’s Celebration jointly with Shirat Hayam. Many of our people came when we used to celebrate New Year’s with the former Emeth Shalom whose people are also looking forward to doing it again. There is nothing inherently “UnJewish” about New Year’s. It is a secular holiday which we can all enjoy.

Another secular holiday which is truly American is Martin L King Day on January 20 this year. Traditionally it is a day of service. Do a mitzvah and find somewhere in the community that could use volunteer help. If we learn of anything nearby we will pass it along.

February 8 is Shabbat Shira, the Shabbat of Song where we read the Song of the Sea – the song the Israelites sang after the Egyptian army drowned and the people knew they were totally free (we don’t celebrate the deaths of our enemies). It is customarily when cantors speak about Jewish music and I’ll be reviewing a book by a rabbi friend of mine called THE CANTOR.

Monday, February 10 is Tu B’Shvat, the New Year for Trees as we celebrate the ecology and the first signs of spring in the land of Israel. Looking at spring in the throes of winter here is a hard thing to juggle, but as Jews our ties to the Land of Israel is strong and we need to be aware of how their ecology works as well as ours.

Enjoy our winter – we can make the most of our time here at Beth El.

-Cantor Ralph Goren