Tu B’Shevat Celebration
Sunday, January 24 from 4:00-5:00 pm on Zoom

Tu B’Shevat, celebrated on the 15th of Shevat, originated as the date for calculating the beginning of the growing season for the purpose of biblical tithes, but it’s more than that. It is also known as Rosh HaShanah La’Ilanot, literally “New Year of the Trees.” In contemporary Israel, the day is celebrated as an ecological awareness day, and trees are planted in celebration.

Jean Stevens
-artwork by Jean Stevens

Why do trees celebrate their New Year so much later than ours? It has to do with the rainy season in Israel, which begins with the festival of Sukkot. It takes four months for the rains to saturate the soil, nurture the trees and coax them into producing fruit. Tu B’Shevat is a day of rejoicing for the people of Israel, who till the land, who love it and who yearn for it.

It’s an appropriate time to appreciate the greatness of creation, and to honor it. Traditionally, we observe this holiday by eating and blessing the fruits and grains for which Israel is known, the seven species: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. If you’re yearning for a bit of spring, come celebrate spring in Israel!

Everyone is invited to join us for a fun and informative hour as we celebrate Tu B’Shevat by looking at the origins of the holiday, learning how Israel has improved the ecology of the region since its founding, Israeli agricultural innovation and steps we can take individually to improve the environment.

If you have any of the fruits, nuts and grains in the seven species, have them ready for saying brachot, as is customary.