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Temple Israel of Scranton

Temple Israel of Scranton

An Egalitarian, Conservative Jewish Congregation – Be A Part of Us!

918 East Gibson Street, Scranton, PA 18510
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Shabbat Shirah Parashat B’Shalah MLK Day weekend 5782

Posted on January 14, 2022

Shabbat Shirah Parashat B’Shalah MLK Day weekend 5782

It was a year like this one — Tu B’Shevat and Reverend Martin Luther King day weekend coincided. The administration of the Schechter school decided that it made sense to have one special assembly on Friday for both events. The next week we learned that the kindergarteners had gone home and told their parents that “today we celebrated the holiday when Black people plant trees.” That was the last time we combined assemblies.

Shabbat Shirah and MLK Day and that is not all:

  • This shabbat is also Shabbat Shirah, the shabbat that we read the Song of the Sea, sung by the Israelites as they crossed the Sea from slavery to freedom. What does the passage to freedom mean for all of us?

  • One way to celebrate Tu B’Shevat is to plant trees in Israel, but not this year. 5782 is a sh’mitah year, a sabbatical year, a year when we refrain from planting in Israel. What can we do to reinforce the idea of sh’mitah?

  • It is cold! Here in northeastern Pennsylvania, it does not feel much like the birthday of the trees this week. How does observing Tu B’Shevat in the winter remind us to keep a larger vision of the world? And how does it help us remain connected to Israel even when we cannot plant trees this year?

May it be a meaningful weekend, complete with virtual Shabbat Shirah singing services, Sunday morning Tu B’Shevat Seder with the religious school, and Monday evening communal MLK day observance.

Please print this MLK reading before Shabbat, and we will read it together in the place of the prayer for the government. (If you forget to print before Shabbat, please just listen to the reading on Shabbat.)

I am glad to be back with the congregation, even virtually. Stay healthy, stay warm, stay connected.

B’vrakhah, Rabbi Spitzer