What is Tu B’shevat you ask? Why it is the holiday of trees established by the Talmudic rabbis sometime between the 3rd to 5th century –the early part of the Middle Ages.

As the daughter of liberal Jewish activists (my parents met at a civil rights meeting in the 1960′s) I’ve always been really into this holiday which is described by wikipedia as follows:

Tu Bishvat is considered by secular Israeli Jews and organizations to be the Jewish equivalent of Arbor Day…Ecological organizations in Israel and the diaspora have adopted the holiday to further environmental-awareness programs.


I remember the rituals of Tu B’shevat growing up –to celebrate my family planted trees. Additionally, I have a very personal connection to this holiday. According to the website Think Baby Names:

Elana \e-la-na\ as a girl’s name is pronounced ee-LAHN-ah. It is of Hebrew origin, and the meaning of Elana is “tree”.

Here’s more on Tu Bishvat from about.com:

An annual new year for trees was established by Talmudic rabbis so that Jews could calculate the age of trees and know when they could be harvested. Jews celebrate Tu B’Shvat by serving dishes containing fruit mentioned in the Bible either for a regular meal or for a Tu B’Shvat Seder ceremony.

When I saw my Rabbi today he had many interesting ideas to share with me about Tu B’Shevat. According to Rabbi Gavriel, the words that make up the name of this holiday have a simple relevance. The celebration falls during the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat. The Hebrew letters “tuf” and “vuv” make up the numbers 6 and 9 which add up to 15 –are you still following this?!

He further explained to me that this holiday is not the New Year of the Trees, it is the New Year of the Tree, and it is thought that the reference to “tree” could be a mystical reference to the Tree of Life. For more fascinating information of this type, you can take a look at my Rabbi’s column. He provides further detail on this wonderful holiday we call  Rosh Hashanah Ilan or Tu B’Shevat.

On this Jewish holiday, it is customary to serve dishes made up of fruit –in season in the warm Middle East during this time of year. Here are some of the foods that we eat on Tu B’shevat:

According to wikipedia, Tu Bishvat (Hebrew: ט״ו בשבט‎) is a minor Jewish holiday. This year, it will fall upon the dusk of February 7 through the dusk of February 8, 2012. Generally, Tu Bishvat falls on the second full moon before Passover, or, in a leap year, the third full moon before Passover.


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