The Jewish calendar brings us some of our favorite holidays: Passover! Chanukah! Rosh Hashanah! And… Tu Bishvat…
Tu Bishvat is the birthday of the trees. And who doesn’t like trees? The issue is that Tu Bishvat, the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shevat, falls in the dead of winter here in Wisconsin. It can be difficult to get enthused about Spring when the ground is blanketed with snow.
This year we marked Tu Bishvat with a sweet assembly for the lower school. Students sang songs about trees and the environment and Israel. The whole school will be celebrating Tu Bishvat today during our all-school mishpachot.
8th graders planned a Tu Bishvat seder scavenger hunt including some of the 7 species of Israel like dates and wheat.
When the little kindergarteners find each new clue, the look on their faces will be the way that they will remember Tu Bishvat in years to come. When they bite into what, for some of them, will be their first taste of dates from Israel, that will be their sweet memory that they will bring with them. As they complete the scavenger hunt as mishpachot, as families within the larger family of our school, I hope that they will realize that they are part of something bigger than just themselves. For me, that’s what the Jewish calendar is all about.
In truth we can’t force Tu Bishvat to be meaningful to all students. What we can do is provide them with fun, exciting, tasty and educational experiences that will allow them to develop their own feelings about the holidays and what it means to be Jewish.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Tu Bishvat Sameach!