On Tu B'Shevat, we celebrate a New Year for the Trees, rejoicing in the fruit of the tree and the fruit of the vine. Some celebrate with a special seder modeled off the Passover seder, while others plant trees and raise awareness about environmental issues. Tu B'Shevat marks the beginning of spring in Israel. Sustaining rains are at the peak of their power. For Jews outside of Israel, Tu B'Shevat is a celebration of the renewal of vision and awareness, a celebration of connections and connectedness.
Celebrating the Earth
This spring, through the creativity and drive of its student leaders, Greater Portland Hillel was inspired by Tu B’Shevat, and celebrated with a "Dance for Plants." This celebration of art, music, and mindfulness hosted 10 local bands, an orchid raffle, and a seed give-away, and students were thrilled to learn about the connection between environmentalism and Judaism.
"Events like this make me proud to be a Jewish on this campus. There are a huge number of outspoken environmentalists here in Portland, and I am excited to be able to celebrate this value from a Jewish perspective." Sara, Greater Portland Hillel student.
In Atlanta, more than 50 local participants celebrated Tu B’Shevat by taking the time to leave their community better than they found it. Myrtle Lewin, Hillel faculty mentor at Agnes Scott College, worked with the local nonprofit Trees Atlanta to organize a special tree planting for the holiday, which included participants from Hillels at Agnes Scott, Georgia Tech, and Georgia State University, as well as from local synagogues, Limmud Southeast, and the Atlanta Jewish outdoor club Mosaic. The group planted more than 40 trees and shrubs.
“The best part was how so many people from different groups worked together, got really dirty, and worked with such kavanah (intent).” - Myrtle Lewin