logo-traverse



Congregation Beth El

Michigan's oldest synagogue in continuous use since 1885

jewcon4

 

Tu BiSh'vat or the "New Year of the Trees" is Jewish Arbor Day. The holiday is observed on the fifteenth (tu) of Sh'vat. Scholars believe that Tu BiSh'vat was originally an agricultural festival, marking the emergence of spring. After the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.C.E. This holiday was a way for Jews to symbolically bind themselves to their former homeland by eating foods that could be found in Israel. In the seventeenth century Kabbalists created a ritual for Tu BiSh'vat similar to the Passover seder.

Today, Tu BiSh'vat has also become a tree planting festival in Israel, in which both Israelis and Jews around the world plant trees in honor or in memory of a loved one or friend. To plant a tree in honor or in memory of a friend or loved one, please contact The JNF Online Tree Planting Center.

Though the observance of Tu BiSh’vat has a long and varied history, the theme most commonly ascribed to the holiday today is the environment. It is considered a festival of nature, full of wonder, joy, and thankfulness for God’s creation as we anticipate the renewal of the natural world. During this festival we consider our obligation to care for God’s world, of which we are the custodians, and our responsibility for sharing the fruits of God’s earth with all.