“Tu b’Shevat has arrived, the holiday for the trees,” goes a popular Israeli tune, and so it has. Tonight marks the start of Judaism’s arbor day, when children all across Israel set off on school field trips to plant saplings.
A JNF-KKL Tu b’Shevat poster from 1950
In more recent years, the holiday has moved beyond kids and school outings and gained popularity with a grown-up audience, especially here in the United States, where even a decade ago the holiday remained largely unknown.
Among the reasons for this development, to our way of thinking, are an increased interest in food and the environment. As people become more aware of what they ingest, issues like locally sourced and seasonality grow in importance. Tu b’Shevat, with its seder of Holy Land fruits and its celebration of the start of the agricultural cycle speaks to that concern. Tu b’Shevat becomes an opportunity to connect to our agricultural Jewish heritage while raising awareness about consuming locally – nothing sends that message more than planting a seedling in the earth where you live.
And in keeping with the local theme, and the growing popularity of the holiday, there are a series of Tu b’Shevat seders happening across Denver and Boulder. Some are more learning focused, others are oriented for youth or seniors, and still others explore the mystical side of the holiday. Visit the IJN’s Online Community Calendar for more details.
Discover what this quirky Jewish holiday is all about!