The “Fruity & Nutty” Jewish Holiday – Tu BiSh’vat

Celetrate Tu BiSh'evat

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 … [Read more...]

Tu B’Shevat – Celebrate Trees

Ready for a celebration that enlivens the winter?  Tu B’Shevat is a one-day holiday, often called "The New Year for the Trees," that starts this year at sunset on January 24th. In brief, this holiday celebrates the season when the sap begins to rise in trees in Israel, like almond trees. But if it’s freezing cold where you live, and your trees are covered with snow,  you can give a very simple nod to the holiday in your home by adding some of the fruits and nuts that grow in Israel to your dinner table – like grapes, figs, olives, dates, pomegranates, and almonds. Stewards of our … [Read more...]

Tu B’Shevat – Make It All About the Trees

For centuries, artists (and photographers like me!) have tried to capture the beauty and majesty of trees.  So to have a holiday where we can honor them makes a lovely break from the gray days of winter. Check out Max Greenberg's take on the celebration in his article with the funny title from the National Wildlife Federation, “How to Celebrate New Year’s for the Trees, OR: Obscure Jewish Holiday of the Month.” As the article shares, many Americans who celebrate focus on the seven species of foods that the Torah tell us were grown in ancient Israel, including grapes, figs, dates, … [Read more...]

Celebrate Tu B’Shevat with Food and Fun

Natural Approach to Tu B’Shevat Some people call Tu B’Shevat the Jewish Earth Day. Or New Year for the Trees. Or the Jewish Arbor Day. Since Tu B’Shevat signals a time of rebirth, the possibilities of reveling in nature with our children are endless. According to, “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.” Chaya Burstein envisions an even larger way of understanding the holiday: “We must expand our celebration to embrace the whole earth. We must make it a time to … [Read more...]

More Shabbat Home Celebrations in 2014

A Shabbat Sign I don’t really spend days seeking signs. But when a sign presents itself . . . In December, I made the commitment to light Shabbat candles more regularly in 2014. I was missing the warmth and the light they shed on our lives – and I was missing the weekly ritual that reminded me of earlier times. Raising our girls. At camp. As a child myself. So when our niece and her hubby gave us this exquisite pair of candles they had gotten for us in Safed, along with a match holder unlike anything I've ever seen, it was a clear sign. More important for me – I love having family … [Read more...]