Ah, the almond tree in Israel. In bloom again. Time for Tu BiSh’vat, the New Year of the Trees.
(Sorry - this isn’t an almond blossom, but you get the idea.)
To get you in the spirit, read these lines from Rabbi Vicki Hollander’s lyrical “Ode to the Moon of Sh’vat.” (It’s definitely worth clicking on the link to read the rest of it.)
And as the full moon rises, on the 15th day of Sh’vat, so comes her holy day,
Tu BiSh’vat, the new year of the trees.
When according to legend,
that very night, the moon pulls
and sap stirs within the trees, rising upwards.
Full of Possibility
Tu BiSh’vat might just be the most underappreciated Jewish holiday that, at the same time, is so full of possibilities for celebration. You can get more complicated (like holding a Tu BiSh’vat seder) or super simple (like doing a nature scavenger hunt – see below).
You can do something kid-focused, like making tree art from food, or adults-only, like sampling four different types of wine.
You can choose your focus: environment, food, mysticism, and more.
In fact, try your hand at this quick quiz about the holiday – for inspiration. Wishing for a Holiday? Tu B’Shevat is Coming!
Chaya Burstein (“The Jewish Earth Day,” Hadassah Magazine, February 2006) said, “We must expand our celebration to embrace the whole earth. We must make it a time to sharpen our appreciation – in our urban, high-technology settings – of God’s gifts to us and all living creatures.”
At root, according to Chabad.org, “This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle.”
One-day holiday beginning evening of Friday, February 10th, ending nightfall of Saturday, February 11th.
For a quick primer on Tu BiSh’vat, peruse this booklet from ReformJudaism.org.
Focus on the great outdoors
Check out these easy ideas to celebrate our magnificent world, like planning a nature scavenger hunt, making food art in the shapes of trees, or creating trees with paint. Tu B’Shevat – Celebrate Trees.
Focus on trees
Using trees as your inspiration, invite the kiddoes to make tree art or read bedtime stories featuring trees (e.g., “The Giving Tree,” by Shel Silverstein and many others). Tu B’Shevat – Make It All About the Trees.
Focus on food and fun
If you like kitchen activities, you can consider the Seven Species of fruits and nuts that grow in Israel (like grapes, figs, olives, dates, pomegranates and almonds) and challenge your little ones to come up with menus that feature these foods. Celebrate Tu B’Shevat with Food and Fun
For more ideas, check out our Tu B’Shevat – Tree Hugging Pinterest Page and our Judaism and Nature Pinterest Page.
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