Here comes the sun

Birkat ha-chamah (the once-in-28-years blessing on the sun) is just a few weeks away! See this post for a refresher on why it’s every 28 years. The blessing will be said on Wednesday, April 8, at sunrise. (Yes, due to a freak collision between the lunar and solar calendars, that’s Erev Pesach.)
There’s a lot going on in preparation for this historic occasion. COEJL is leading the charge to make birkat ha-chamah an opportunity to raise awareness about solar energy, and has set up a website,, filled with links to various birkat ha-chamah resources. The Conservative movement has published Masechet Ha-chamah, “the tractate of the sun”, a collection of rabbinic texts related to the sun (suitable for a siyyum for the Fast of the Firstborn) compiled by Abe Friedman, along with a study guide by Jill Levy.
Where will you be on the morning of April 8? There is an event listing starting to form, though it’s limited so far: there are five events listed for that morning, in New York (burning chameitz with the concentrated light of the sun!), Winston-Salem NC, Cleveland, Wyncote PA, and Tzfat. If something is going on in your community, whether it’s an all-out sun festival or whether you’re just saying the berachah at the end of morning minyan, please add it to the list. (This is a wiki, which any registered user can edit.) This would be particularly useful because, due to Pesach travel, many people will be away from their homes on that morning, and therefore many potential participants in your event (who are visiting your city from elsewhere) won’t know about it if you only announce it on local lists.
If your city isn’t listed there and you haven’t heard about anything going on, it’s also possible that no one has organized anything yet. (I imagine that many communities have decided to sit this one out due to Pesach craziness. This might also be an issue in 28 years, when birkat hachamah is on the morning after Pesach ends, for those who observe 8 days. May we all merit to see April 8, 2065, the next time birkat hachamah will be a safe distance from Pesach.) This means that you are authorized and encouraged to organize something yourself, and then let everyone know about it! If your community is already doing something for the Fast of the Firstborn and/or the burning of chameitz, then piggybacking on that might make things easier, or if you know a beautiful place to watch the sunrise, that’s great too! Please keep everyone updated.

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