Tu B’Shevat or the “New Year of the Trees” is Jewish Arbor Day. We celebrate by
rejoicing in the fruit of the tree and the fruit of the vine, celebrating the splendid,
abundant gifts of the natural world which give our senses delight and our bodies’
It was originally believed to be an agricultural festival, marking the emergence of spring in Israel. Sustaining rains are at the peak of their power and the world responds, brimming with buds of fragrant life.
After the destruction of the Temple in 70 ACE, this holiday became a way for the Jews to symbolically bind themselves to their former homeland by eating foods that were found in Israel. It is a celebration of the renewal of vision and awareness, a celebration of connections and connectedness – to our own inner-selves, to the social world of human beings, and to the natural world and its Source.
In the 17th century, the Kabbalists, the Jewish mystics of Safed, developed a special Seder (order of service). Modeled on the Passover Seder, the Tu B’Shevat Seder included drinking of four cups of wine with varying percentages of red and white wine, representing the shifting of yearly seasons. The Seder also included readings on trees and fruit from a range of Jewish literature.
Click HERE for the details on our latest seder.