With the holiday of Tu B’Shevat coming up (sunset February 9 to nightfall on the 10th), we have another fun way to celebrate Jewishly. Called the New Year for the Trees, Tu B’Shevat marks the time when the sap begins to rise in trees in Israel.
While Tu B’Shevat Seders are popular, I wanted to share easier, more active ways for you to celebrate.
Here are some ideas I culled from articles in Tablet, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore website, and OurJewishCommunity.org.
#1 Try a new fruit
Love this one! Take the kiddoes to the market with you to choose something they’ve never tried. It’s a great way to expand their fruit repertoire.
#2 Brainstorm menu components with the Seven Species (shivat haminim)
The seven species include wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates (honey). Here are some easy ones:
A sandwich on wheat bread with a bunch of grapes
Mushroom barley soup
Pomegranates for dessert; our grandson is crazy about pomegranates!
A plate of hummus, olives, and pita for a snack
A slice of wheat bread with honey as a treat – even if it’s not date honey
#3 Read bedtime stories about the beauty of our world
If your kids are older than 4, they can even help you find them on your bookshelves. These are among my faves: “Miss Rumphius,” by Barbara Cooney. “The Snowy Day,” by Ezra Jack Keats. “Blueberries for Sal,” by Robert McClosky. “Owl Moon” by Jane Yolen. “Rain Rain Rivers,” Uri Shulevitz.
#4 Spend time in nature
Bundle up and plan an outing to explore a nearby park or your backyard – and really observe what you’re seeing. Talk about it. What does the bark on that tree look like?
#5 Prepare new Seven Species recipes
Here are three options that range from simple to “not gonna happen in my kitchen.” You can invite the kiddoes to cook with you, depending on their ages and skill levels. The salad recipe, in particular, might inspire you to put together different combinations, too.
Seven Species Muffins by Tori Avey
Prep time: 10 minutes. Sounds good to me!
Goat Cheese, Silan and Olive Galette by Liz Rueven
Prep time: not given, a clear indication that I’m not making it. But it sounds delicious.
Shivat Haminim Salad by Jamie Geller
Prep time: 10 minutes. And I love every ingredient in it.
Let me know if you experiment with a new-to-you Tu B’Shevat activity.