Sunday, February 5, 2023

Tu B'Shevat

This year, Tu B'Shevat is celebrated from Sunday evening (February 5th) to Monday evening (February 6th).  Living in a community supported by the Jewish people of University City (a suburb of St. Louis), I'm learning a lot about Jewish traditions and holidays and such.  There's information about Tu B'Shevat in the lobby downstairs.

Wikipedia tells me that Tu B'Shevat is a Jewish holiday occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat.  It is also called Rosh HaShanah La'Ilanot, literally "New Year of the Trees."  In contemporary Israel, the day is celebrated as an ecological awareness day, and trees are planted in celebration.  We won't be planting any trees around here, though, since we're in the middle of construction of a new building to replace the one where I live now — and it's still winter here, not a time I associate with planting things.

Here are nine symbolic ways to celebrate Tu B’Shevat:
  1. Pick fresh fruits and vegetables at a local farm.
  2. Plant trees, seeds, or start an herb garden.
  3. Build a birdhouse to hang in a tree.
  4. Eat the seven significant species of the land of Israel:  wheat, grapes, barley, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates.
  5. Organize a park clean-up to collect litter.
  6. Make something for your home with reclaimed wood.
  7. Take some time to research your own ancestry and assemble your family tree.
  8. Commit to recycling paper goods.
  9. Host a Tu B’Shevat Seder.
I think it's interesting that I found this list on my university's website when I googled.  Click on "nine symbolic ways" to see Emory University at the top.  The connection is with Emory University School of Medicine's Department of Human Genetics.

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