TU B’SHVAT SEDER – NEW YEAR FOR TREES
Temple Judea was the site for the students of the religious school, along with their parents, to celebrate the New Year for Trees, called Tu BiSh’vat in Hebrew.
Tu BiSh’vat, which has Biblical origins, is observed today by celebrating all of the wonders that are produced by trees. For example, the students prepared and ate cookies made from the seven “species” of foods that come from trees. They happily made the cookie dough using barley and wheat flour, figs, dates, honey and olive oil, mixing and stirring until it all became a nice dough. They placed the dough into large flat pans and baked the cookies for 30 minutes.
While the cookies were baking, the families made recycled paper. They took strips of paper, put them into a blender with some water and blended it until it formed a mushy mash. They then squeezed the water out of pieces of the “mash” and shaped each one into a circle, or a Star of David.
They participants played games which tested their knowledge of trees. They then sat in a circle as Lauren Resnikoff, director of the religious school, and Rabbi Chizner explained about Shabbat and how we say “good-bye” when Shabbat ends. Each student used his/her own sweet-smelling besamim (spices) which consisted of inserting cloves into a lemon or an orange. The students sang the blessings for wine, for the spices and for the Havdallah candle which represents a “good-bye” to the Sabbath, separating the Shabbat from the new week.
The celebration ended with pizza and other goodies. Each student left with a new understanding and appreciation of all that trees provide.