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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 25, 2005 / 15 Shevat, 5765

Springing into Tu B'Shevat

By Andrea Simantov


When leg lifts and green tea are all part of His grand plan



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Twice a year, when I'm feeling miserable, cold and uninspired, I'm suddenly overtaken with an irrepressible desire to get fit and gorgeous. This is no small challenge, mind you, especially when the heating system is unreliable, the hot water tank blows out the electricity every time it rains and the children come down to supper wearing snorkel jackets and earmuffs. I don't suffer from the cold like the younger ones because my menopausal, inner-furnace is being hormonally stoked.


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The seasonal urge  — henceforth called the Tu B'Shevat Renewal  — hit this morning as I lay face down on Miriam's massage table. Miriam is my good friend and neighboring reflexologist. I hadn't been to her in some time and my body was throbbing from weeks of neglect.


My absence could be blamed in part on a can of motor oil, which mysteriously fell and broke my second toe. Anyone who knew about my injury assumed that it had happened in the parking lot or at the gas station  — any place where my car might have been. But I confess (only to you) that it happened in the bedroom. The motor oil was in my bed along with a week's worth of unfolded laundry, two Styrofoam wig heads, a shoebox filled with cellphone chargers and two copies of the same John Irving novel. "Why," you may ask, "were these things in your bed?" Because I was packing to move from an apartment which I hadn't yet sold to a home which I had yet to purchase. See? Logical!


As Miriam pushed and kneaded my sourdough limbs, I became painfully aware of my neglected immune system. Staring at my friend's orange and green striped socks through the flattering face-hole of the table, I resolved then and there to get my act together.


Leaving Miriam's, my body felt supple and I could sense a renewed mental energy. The day held indescribable promise. Perhaps I'd get some serious writing done; maybe I'd actually shop for food. Or  — call me crazy  — I might even try to sweep the house.


The steps of Miriam's complex were wet from the previous night's rain. Living in Jerusalem you learn to both respect and appreciate the rain. We respect it because we know that Jerusalem stone becomes slippery and very dangerous in the winter. And we appreciate it because we live in a desert climate. Summer showers are a thing of our pre-Aliyah past. If the rain doesn't come between Succos and Passover, it ain't coming. As a matter of fact, Lake Kineret's water level is a frequent Sabbath table topic. But I digress…


Although the sky was gray and it was still unmistakably winter, I noticed that the vines which grew along the iron railings of the walkways were sporting wee, pale buds. "How can this be?" I thought, knowing that we still had a good two months of inclement weather ahead. I listen to the meteorological forecast daily, sometimes in three languages, yet nowhere had it been announced that spring had arrived.


And then I remembered that the Jewish calendar answers to no man. G-d, in all His wisdom, has infused the pulsing earth with her own holy clock. Tu B'Shevat still falls on Tu B'Shevat. It takes a G-d-in-heaven to infuse life's breath into a tree whose branches are bare, leaves dry and seemingly dead. And if this is proven time and again in agriculture, how much more so must it be for man, the most beloved of all G-d's creations? If I choose renewal, then it's available for the asking. No one is promising that I'll look like a figure skater or suddenly begin cross training for the upcoming Maccabiah Games. But by acknowledging the dormant potential within me, I too can achieve amazing results.


It's hard to believe on a cold and dreary January morning that all choice is infused with His blessing. Even leg lifts and green tea serve to remind me that I'm not alone.


On the way home I stopped at the fruit store to purchase a few items with which to bring the message of Tu B'Shevat to my supper table. Olives, dried fruit, a few pomegranates and some whole-wheat pasta. I treated myself to a small plant, which I knew would look great in the center of the table. It was only after bounding up the stairs to my front door two at a time, that I realized my injured toe was no longer bothering me.


Ultimately, I think the real message behind this Holiday of New Fruits is: It's Alright To Be Built Like A Pear.

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JewishWorldReview.com contributor Andrea Simantov is a Jerusalem-based columnist and single mother of six. Comments by clicking here.


Chanukah: The quintessential female holiday?


© 2005, Andrea Simantov. This column first appeared in Orange County Jewish Life