Jews & Valentines: What to do?

Image: My homemade “What’s a Jew to Do?” Valentine card (Photo by R. Ruth Adar)

Valentine’s Day is here, and there’s nothing Jewish about it. If you want to know about the Jewish holiday of love, read A Jewish Valentine’s Day?

That said, I am all in favor of a day that reminds us to tell our loved ones “I love you.” Truth is, we should be doing that every day.

I see the pain Feb 14 gives some of my single friends, and the widows, and those whose marriages are suffering.  I wonder about the kindness of a day devoted to expressions of romantic love, a day that winds up excluding all but the already happy.

I celebrate the day by telling my beloved that I love her (as I do every day) and sending a donation to Shalom Bayit, an organization working against domestic violence in my home town.

Down with pain, up with love! I think that’s an idea we can all support.

What’s Tu B’Av?

Israeli Dancing
Israeli Dancing (Photo credit: bethisrael1)

Tu B’Av is a minor but fun Jewish holiday. After the mourning of Tisha B’Av, this is a lovely little day to be happy and to celebrate love.

  • Tu B’Av = Fifteenth of the Month of Av. In Hebrew, the letters that form the number 15 can also be pronounced “Tu.”
  • Today in Israel, it’s called Chag HaAhavah, the Holiday of Love, and it’s a favored day for weddings. Think of it as Jewish Valentine’s Day.
  • In Temple times, in Jerusalem, the grape harvest began on the fifteenth of Av and ended on the tenth of Tishrei, Yom Kippur. On both those days, single girls dressed in white and went to dance in the vineyards in the afternoon. It was a traditional time for courtship.
  • There are no big religious observances for the day. However, it’s a good day to get married, a good day to fall in love, and a great day to tell your loved ones “I love you.”

In 2014, Tu B’Av falls on August 10-11 (begins at sundown, runs until sundown.) For future years, check the Hebrew calendar at http://hebcal.com.