Who doesn't like having reasons to celebrate?
At Temple Oseh Shalom, which meets monthly at First Presbyterian Church in Bluffton, worshippers can enjoy three New Year's celebrations each year.
First, there is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which takes place in the fall. The date is designated by the lunar Jewish calendar. Followers pray to God for the gift of a sweet new year and ask for forgiveness for any wrongs committed.
On Dec. 31, followers join friends and neighbors in saying, "Out with the old, and in with the new." Resolutions are made, and people join with others around the world hoping for a year of peace and understanding for all.
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The third New Year's event is unique. Tu B'Shevat, which falls on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat, is known as the "New Year for Trees." When a new tree is planted, the Old Testament book of Leviticus gives the command to wait three years before any fruit is eaten.
On Tu B'Shevat, every tree is considered to be a year older. Interesting customs are involved with the observance of the holiday. People eat from the seven species described in the Bible as being abundant in the land of Israel: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.
The members of Temple Oseh Shalom commemorate the holiday by planting a tree each year at the temple's Memorial Garden at Sauls Funeral Home in Bluffton. This year, they will plant their tree at noon Jan. 18.
Submitted by Temple Oseh Shalom's ritual committee.