Spring is in the air!


For me, March is a hopeful month. Signs of spring are everywhere. The weather is getting a little warmer. Light brightens our days a little longer. Purim and Passover are coming up quickly. And my mother’s birthday is toward the end of the month.

We’ve had a much warmer February than usual, and while we might enjoy a break from winter’s usual frigid temperatures, the warmth is not a good sign for our climate. I saw a troubling statistic the other day: This is the first February ever in this area with no daytime temperatures under 32 degrees. Can you image that? In one of the traditionally coldest months of the year, we have been above freezing for the entire month.

I suspect that there is still some cold weather to come, so try to be patient when your thoughts turn to gardening. But, I must admit, we are already thinking gardens at my house and are already tracking the progress of some shoots emerging in front of our home. And my husband’s massive summer garden project last year is just waiting for warm weather to show us what will pop up again and what will need a little push.

If you are interested in gardening this year – maybe even for the first time – Kendra Doe-Mode has some great tips for success on page 17. And for even more gardening advice, you can search for her March 2023 story at jewishrhody.com.

But first, let’s not forget about Purim, celebrated on the 14th of Adar. This is the joyous holiday that celebrates events told in the Megillah, or the Book of Esther. This leap year, Purim is celebrated in the second month of Adar, which explains why it falls at the end of March.

And a month later, we celebrate Passover, when we read about how the Jews survived the exodus from Egypt after generations of slavery. It is truly a story for spring, a story of hope.

My mother turns 95 at the start of spring. This is quite a milestone, which my family will gather to celebrate. To me, this offers hope for the family. She still checks in with all of us and is looking forward to finally meeting her newest great-granddaughters. And, honestly, she beats many of us in our family Wordle group. And she receives Jewish Rhode Island each month!

I am blessed to have a wide, blended family, all of whom are still active and sharp. We are lucky to be able to gather to celebrate milestones. I hope that other families are this fortunate, especially the families of the hostages still held in Gaza. Let’s hope that they too will have the opportunity to gather as complete families this spring.

Fran Ostendorf, Editor