Religions and Spirituality

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B’nai Shalom to Hold Gift-it-4Ward Tu B’Shevat Family Tree Havdalah Celebration

Lincoln Richman

WEST ORANGE, NJ – A child-friendly Tu B’Shevat Seder and a holiday sing-a-long will be among the highlights of the Gift-it-4Ward Tu B’Shevat Family Tree Havdalah Celebration at B’nai Shalom in West Orange on Saturday, Jan. 27 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

“We were thrilled to have over 60 people attend our first Gift-it-4Ward Havdalah celebration on a snowy night just prior to Chanukah,” said Rabbi Robert Tobin, spiritual leader of B’nai Shalom. “There was a wonderful feeling in the room, as parents and grandparents shared a joyous holiday celebration together with their children and grandchildren. We want to keep that same spirit going with our Tu B’Shevat Havdalah celebration, and invite everyone in the community to join us.”

The Tu B’Shevat Celebration will feature a Seder that will give children a better understanding of a holiday that includes dimensions of spiritual connectedness and environmental awareness. At the child-friendly Seder, children will enjoy four types of fruit, symbolizing four aspects of the human relationship to God and to the natural world. They will also enjoy red and white grape juice, which are mixed to create four different colors that represent the four seasons.

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This event will also include special Havdalah blessings, holiday crafts and plantings, a light dinner with kid-friendly foods, and a festive sing-a-long led by Lincoln Richman, the song leader and Judaic specialist at Camp-Nah-Jee-Wah in Milford, PA. In addition, Richman teaches music in synagogues throughout northern New Jersey and at the JCC of Middlesex County.

“We are asking participants to Gift-it-4Ward by bringing non-perishable food items to be donated to families in need,” said Rabbi Tobin. “We want children of all abilities to celebrate with us, and encourage parents or caregivers to let us know if their child needs any special accommodations to participate.” 

This event will be held at B’nai Shalom, 300 Pleasant Valley Way in West Orange. Admission is $5 per child ages 3-to-12 years old; $15 maximum for a family. Children under 2 years old can attend for free.

“This celebration will be a great way for young families to connect with each other and make new friendships,” said Rabbi Tobin. “At the events, we’ll be letting people know about other ways our synagogue is planning to engage young families in 2018, including our new Tot Shabbat program and free religious school offering to members.”

The next Gift-it-4Ward event after the Tu B’Shevat celebration will be the Passover Cooking & Crafting for Kids Extravaganza on Sunday, March 11 from 9 a.m. to noon.  

Families who want to join the Tu B’Shevat Family Tree Havdalah Celebration must RSVP for the  event by January 24tto Leslie Gleaner at 973-0160 ext. 207, email her at, or register online at Scroll to Tu B’Shevat Havdalah Celebration.  

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