Ellie Lichtash

17 January 2019

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Tu B’Shvat – Celebrating the life cycle of Seeds & Trees

Tu B’Shvat – Celebrating the life cycle of Seeds & Trees

Tu B’shvat is a wonderful time to celebrate, eating fruits, learning about seeds, trees and our ecosystem.  Our teachers open the month of January with a project of seedlings. We allow seeds to grow, and as they sprout, we move them into small pots, place them by the window, and watch them grow.

Each year, in late January or February, we are preparing to celebrate the unique Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat – the New Year of Trees – with planting of plants and trees. The holiday marks the beginning of a “new year” for trees in their fruit-bearing cycle in the Land of Israel. It is a time in which the earliest-blooming trees in the country emerge from their winter slumber. The most notable is the Almond tree, dotted with white blossom, around the hills of Jerusalem. 

The holiday is also marked with a special festive meal, seuda, of various fruits. This is might remind some to the Passover seder — albeit with culinary offerings of a very different nature.  It is customary to eat fruit on this holiday, particularly those praised in the Torah as part of the bounty of the Land of Israel. These include grapes, figs, pomegranates, dates and olives. We also discuss at this time the Seven Species, the fruits that mark the land of Israel. 

We learn Hebrew words on the topic of Tu B’Shvat. Morah Racheli and Morah Anat teach songs and words relating to the holiday. We prepare a whole meal of fruits this Friday.  

Another project that the children are working on in Hebrew is preparing a tree from pictures, colors and paper.  The children prepare the trunk and will decorate branches with the blossom (made out of popcorn). This project is part of them learning the story in Hebrew about the Snow Man, a wonderful man made with each of its parts (nose, mouth, eyes…) featured as fruits or seeds. The children learned about each part of the body in Hebrew, and every fruit they used for the Snow man. 

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