January 14, 2022
12 Shevat, 5782
Dear Friends–

Growing up, my mother always had music playing in our house. She has moved from the traditional vinyl records of her youth and has adapted nicely to asking Alexa to play whatever it is she wants to hear. One of the records she played often was the Byrd’s song Turn! Turn! Turn! It wasn’t until more than 20 years later I learned that this song, written by Pete Seeger, was actually taken from the third chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes.

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

I think we can all agree over the last two years we have endured many seasons and experienced both joyous and difficult times.  

Today I am writing about a season of renewal and natural beauty – Tu bishvat– a Jewish holiday that begins this Sunday, the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. Originally a harvest holiday, Tu bishvat marked the date on the Hebrew calendar for calculating the age of a fruit-bearing tree; from those trees, tithes of food were made to the poor. 

Nowadays, Tu bishvat is an environmental holiday. Jews consider this day as a way to remind themselves of their duty to care for the natural world. Many Jews across the globe take part in a tree-planting ceremony or send money to Israel to have trees planted there. I think it's worth noting that on my various trips to Israel I have been unable to locate my Bar Mitzvah trees, but I know they are part of the beautiful landscape of our homeland! 

As we turn into yet another season, the time to plant and reap is now. With COVID squarely in our midst, this is the perfect holiday for us to celebrate with family and friends as all activities will take place outside. Consider doing one of the following this weekend; plant a tree or start a herb garden, build a birdhouse, pick fresh fruit or veggies from a local farm, commit to recycling paper goods, host a Seder or do a family art project with recycled materials.

Regardless of how you spend this weekend, I hope you find some peace from the hustle and bustle of your week. In the meantime, enjoy this vintage Hebrew version of Mr. Seeger’s song.


Agency Spotlight
Spotlight On Our Future:
Hillel Connections
Hillel Connections is a program designed to attract Jewish college students to Birmingham, allowing them opportunities to develop personal, mentoring, and professional relationships with our community at large. An eight-week immersive summer internship program enables them to envision living in Birmingham as a young professional, and to consider looking for employment opportunities here after graduation; BJF feels this is a cornerstone of ensuring our Jewish future.

We are grateful to the Birmingham Jewish Federation, Birmingham Jewish Foundation, The Grafman Endowment Fund of Temple-Emanu-El, the Levite Jewish Community Center, and several visionary individual donors who have invested in our future by previous and current support of this program. Of the 20 students that have completed the program, 4 continued to work during the following school year, seven currently live in Birmingham, and seven are still in school or in post-grad programs and have expressed interest in returning (with the potential to bring at least 3 Jewish significant others with them).

Each week, we will “showcase” student(s) interested in joining our HC 2022 summer program; EMPLOYERS are needed to offer summer internships. Please review and reach out if you can help NETWORK on behalf of these talented students. They are bright, efficient, and willing to work!

If you know of a potential employer for these students, please have them reach out to us at hillel.connections@gmail.com or text Roxanne at (205) 907-2531. A detailed resume and further information can be provided if that would be helpful before you make the contact.

Prospective Intern Information

Emily B. is a Wake Forest Sophomore majoring in Communications with a minor in Creative Writing. She currently is a staff writer for the university newspaper and excels at public speaking and writing. Opportunities in the publishing industry and/or PR, Marketing fields, especially with regard to Brand Image are desired.

Hailey S. is a University of South Carolina Sophomore from Atlanta. She is a Mass Communications major with a minor in Jewish Studies. She is involved as an Events and Information assistant, scheduling and marketing campus events as well as is VP of Communications and Media for Hillel. PR and social media opportunities are desired.
Upcoming Programming
Order Mah Jongg cards today and support CJFS programming!
Today is the LAST day to order!
Small Federations and the Ethiopian Israeli Community
January 17 and 24, 11 AM CT!
For decades, Federation has partnered with the Ethiopian-Israeli community to address barriers to the full and successful integration of immigrants and their children into Israeli society. As Israeli society evolves what does the future of our partnership look like?

Join JFNA for an exclusive Small Federation virtual journey to Ethiopia and Israel.

Hear personal stories and achievements of members of the Ethiopian Jewish community and learn about Federation's longstanding involvement and support.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
A Day "On" Not a Day Off
January 17, 2022, 12-2:30 PM
Join our Jewish Community in Service
Our Jewish community is coming together, through the United Way to do a trash pick-up project in the Forestdale area from Noon to 2:30 pm on Monday, January 17th. Volunteers can either meet at the Piggly Wiggly in Forestdale, (1619 Forestdale Blvd, Forestdale, AL 35214) at Noon , OR if you would like to carpool or caravan, meet in the LJCC parking lot by the LJCC Sokol Fitness Center at 11:30 am. 
To sign up click HERE. You can sign in using an account you already have or create an account if you need one. Then use the code HOPE2022 to register. 
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, commemorates a man who lived his life by serving others. Dr. King, his message of nonviolence and fight for civil rights for all, had a tremendous impact on the world, and particularly helped to break the back of segregation in Birmingham. 
Honor the Memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Serving the Community
CJFS 2022 Annual Meeting
January 19, 2022, 5:30 PM
Tu Beersvat Tasting
January 20, 2022, 5 - 7 PM
Annual Meeting and Board Installation
January 23, 2022, 1- 3 PM
International Holocaust
Remembrance Day Commemoration
January 27, 2022, 5:00 - 6:30 PM
As The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum states, “The United Nations General Assembly designated January 27—the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau—as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges every member state to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.”

The Birmingham Holocaust Education Center will honor International Holocaust Remembrance Day by holding an educational event at the Vestavia Hills City Hall.

Esther Levy will be sharing her family’s experience during the Holocaust followed by a Q & A.

We hope all will attend to remember and honor the victims of the Holocaust.
Combating Antisemitism in Socia Media
Thursday, January 27, 2022, 12 PM
Mardi Gras in Jewish New Orleans
January 30, 2022, 12 PM
Jewish Roots of Sports Gala
Save the Date – Sunday, March 27, 2022, 6 PM
CJFS Annual Hands Up Together Event
Honoring the Bearman, Krell, and Wolnek Families
Save the Date – April 26, 2022
Community Programs
The Federation and Foundation have been having issues with our post office box. Please send all correspondence to our physical address at 
The Birmingham Jewish Federation