Tu BiShvat, the “New Year of the Trees” or “Birthday of Trees,” is the Jewish Arbor Day. The holiday is observed on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shevat. Tu BiShvat is a spring festival, perhaps marking planting. In the 17th century, Kabbalists created a seder of fruits for Tu B’Shevat similar to the Passover seder. Israelis and Jews worldwide plant trees, and Reform Jews have turned the holiday into one of environmental awareness.
“When God created Adam, God took him and showed him all the trees of the Garden of Eden and said to him ‘See My works, how beautiful and praiseworthy they are. And everything that I created, I created it for you. Be careful not to spoil or destroy My world – for if you do, there will be nobody after you to repair it.” Midrash Kohelet Raba
Learn more about Tu B’Shevat at reformjudaism.org, including a history, recipes, crafts, and customs and rituals including the types of fruits required for a Tu B’Shevat seder. Visit www.reformjudaism.org/jewish-holidays/tu-bishvat.
The Jewish Environmental Initiative of St. Louis, part of the St. Louis Jewish Community Relations Council, created a Haggadah for anyone who wants to host a Tu B’Shevat seder. These seders traditionally include four glasses of wine – white, white with a little red, white that’s mostly red, and red – and three types of fruits – those edible inside and out, those with inedible pits, and those with an inedible exterior. Download the JEI Tu B’Shevat Haggadah