Thank you to Heschel parent Arielle Berger for guest writing this blog post.
During the post-event schmooze, I mused to Moreh Greg, that without knowing it, this was why we chose this school for our kids!
As master of ceremony, Moreh Greg led some 50 of us parents and teachers through the seasons using all our senses, our intellect and our spirit. Tu Bishvat celebrates the time in the Jewish calendar when we officially count the age of each tree. As with all anniversaries, it is a time to appreciate what the past year has given us and what we hope for in the next, in this case focusing on nature and our connection with the natural world.
The Tu Bishvat seder has its roots in kabbalistic traditions, which tries to unite the spiritual and physical worlds. Wine always helps make that happen! As we moved through the seasons, Moreh Greg led us through tasting four Israeli wines, starting with white wine, to rosée and then two red wines (and this is where my wine knowledge ends!). Each season had a “special guest” leading a teaching of some kind: we learned a song from Moreh Eldan, a Talmudic text from Moreh Alan, participated in a dance of the trees led by Miriam Schachter (the wine was particularly helpful in getting us to do this one!), and delved into a medieval poem about incorporating both serious pursuits (Torah learning) with friendship and laughter to make a meaningful life.
And then of course, the food! Dani Plant and a small army of volunteers prepared the most beautiful and delicious menu. In addition to tasting the classical Israeli fruits associated with each season, pomegranate, date, fig and aromatic spices, our tables were resplendent in beautifully prepared and even better tasting tapas. Everything from grilled pineapple skewers, date and coconut balls, olive crostini and pear and brie pastry to name a few! Finally, to end off the evening, a decadent dessert bar with apple pie, mango custard tart, and so much more.
Somehow there was this magic created that night, with a beautifully decorated room, dark lighting, laughter, learning and meeting new and old friends. I left feeling connected to this community, and connected to a Jewish tradition that gets things right!