Do You Tu B’Shevat?


Tu B’Shevat is coming!  If you look closely at the photo to the left, you can see that my little fig tree is getting ready for the New Year of the Trees by dropping all its old leaves and playing dead.

If you look even more closely (maybe with Photoshop) you’ll see that there are the tiniest beginnings of buds on the tips of those bare branches. The tree isn’t really dead; it’s preparing to leaf out.

I’ve been looking dead lately myself. A series of ailments has laid me so low that writing blog posts has had to take a back seat. I hope, like the tree, to leaf out and bear fruit in the near future.

In the meantime, what if anything are you doing for Tu B’Shevat? A seder? A tree-planting? Gardening routines and rituals? Since the holiday has strong Zionist resonances, perhaps you are going to vote in the World Zionist Congress elections. Whatever you do, I hope that you are healthy and that any new beginnings in your life bear lovely fruit!

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Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, granny, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at and teaches at Jewish Gateways in Albany, CA.

21 thoughts on “Do You Tu B’Shevat?”

  1. My synagogue does a Tu B’Shevat seder for the kids, but tries to draw int he adults by dipping all of the fruits in fair trade chocolate. I think I’ll just go straight to the chocolate.

    1. I have found the TBSh seders to be a very mixed bag. I’ve been to one that was genuinely a learning experience and moving; the others have mostly left me rather cold.

      What kind of content does the seder offer, can you tell?

      1. I went to one, before I realized that I was not the recommended audience, and it was kind of sweet, with songs the kids had learned in Hebrew school, and a pot luck dinner, and, of course, the chocolate. There were some readings, but for the life of me I can’t remember what they were.

  2. Rabbi Adar, I’m very sorry to hear you’ve been so sick. May you feel much better very soon.

  3. Rabbi — For Tu B’Shevat I like to plant parsley seeds in cups with my kids, because (if we remember to water them and keep them in the sun!) the boys can harvest their own parsley for the Passover Seder, which helps reinforce in their minds the connection between our holidays and the natural cycle of our planet. thank you, jen

    1. That’s a great Tu B’Shevat tradition, one practiced by many families in my community. The fact that you are doing this with them is important too!

  4. I will plant some seeds indoors for my organic garden education project. Perfect day to start it!

    1. That’s a wonderful idea! The religious school at my synagogue celebrates Tu B’Shevat by having the preschoolers plant parsley, which will be ready for the Pesach table. The children get to see something sprout and grow, and they also get the satisfaction of seeing something that they grew on the seder table!

  5. We’ll plant soome cuttings that have developed roots. We got 6 incches of snow today, with more expected, so planting will be uplifting

  6. We’ll plant some cuttings that have developed roots. We got 6 inches of snow today, with more expected, so planting will be uplifting.

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