Serving in the Chevra Kaddisha, Jewish Funeral Practices Committee, is an important honor and part of being a Jew. Various roles are available, for various people with various needs and availability. Join now!
This year, we must think carefully about Tu BiShvat’s call. We must think about all of those in our sightlines who are being prevented from planting their roots, the ones who are being denied the most essential human experience of building something permanent, of building something that is forever.
Willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice is, indeed, a Jewish sensibility. However, it is a sensibility that is carefully limited.
These two texts challenge us to pay close attention to the power dynamics involved in a hegemonic body adopting cultural products of a subordinate group. Sometimes erasure comes through restricting the minority practice of its own culture, as in Antiochus's later persecution, which we marked on Chanukah. But sometimes erasure comes through cultural appropriation, depending on a subordinate group to create culture, and then taking it and turning it from culture to artifact, from lifeline to epitaph.
Those of us connected to the heritage of Avraham must engage in this difficult work of imbuing the words of our tradition with meanings that honor the values embodied by our ancestors in this week’s parasha of radical respect and generosity.