Sketching Out Blog: Sketches of art, watercolor, photos, recipes, books, interviews, Jewish topics, and Highland Park, New Jersey

Tu B’Shvat: Birthday of the Trees

dates in front of palm tree, watercolor on paper
Dates in Front of Palm Tree, watercolor on paper, 2011

Tuesday night and Wednesday this week is the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shvat, the fifteenth of the month of Shvat. I like to refer to the day as a birthday party for the trees. One might think of Tu BeShevat as a Jewish Arbor Day. As it a much bigger deal in Israel than outside of Israel, I asked some of my blogger friends in Israel to tell a bit about the holiday. Here are the responses:

Hannah of A Mother in Israel wrote in an email two weeks ago: “It’s pouring here. Tu Beshevat is often wet and muddy, and the worst time of the year for planting trees!” She suggested I share this post she wrote for Green Prophet about this New Year for Trees. “The rabbis wanted to set a specific date during the agricultural season to begin counting the age of the tree. They chose one in the middle of the rainy season, when no one was likely to be planting. That way it would be easier to know whether the fruit, which almost always buds after Tu B’shvat, belonged to this year or to the previous one.” But the modern version does indeed include tree planting.

Batya of Me-Ander talks about a little orphan almond blossom tree that grew near her home.

Sharon of Real Jerusalem Streets:
paradise flower Real Jerusalem Streets
This paradise flower and other Tu B’Shevat visual treats can be seen on her Tu BShvat post. And while taking a scavenger hunt in the Old City of Jerusalem, she and her blogger friends found a tree ripe for Tu B’Shvat.

Julie of Israel Inspirations Art sent me a photo from her son’s nursery school Tu B’Shevat program. This is a cropped detail of one her son’s craft projects:
Tu Beshvat craft

Mrs. S. of Our Shiputzim added (edited a bit on my part, apologies to Mrs. S. if I edited too much):

“According to the Talmud, it marks the beginning of the new agricultural year – which has halachic and practical significance for those of us who are fortunate to have fruit trees in our backyards – and in many schools, it marks the beginning of the spring semester.

Tu B’Shvat is also the day when kids across the country head outdoors and plant trees, and it’s the day when many families celebrate lovely Tu B’Shvat Seders.

But mainly, Tu B’Shvat is a time to appreciate Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) and its myriad incredible blessings. Tu B’Shvat is a wonderful opportunity to stop and recognize all the amazing wonders which surround us here in Israel. “

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And this one is for the search engines: how many different ways can one spell Tu B’Shvat • Tu Beshevat • Tu Be Shevat • Tu B’Shevat •Too Be Shevat • Tu B’Shevat • Tu BiShevat • Tu BiShvat • Tu BShvat • Too Bi Shevat • Too B’Shvat

Ilana-Davita says

Thanks for the post, the explanations and the links. Happy Tu B'Shvat!

Mrs. S. says

Thanks for the link.

Your list of alternate spellings made me smile! :-)

Jewaicious says

Happy Tu B'Shvat!

The post is inspiring from prose to photographs.

Thank you.

Robin from Israel says

Lovely watercolor. Somehow Tu B'Shvat manages to sneak up on me every single year. I never remember it's coming until all of the dried fruit begins appearing in every store.

Michelle says

I love your painting and I didn't know about this so I appreciated learning about it....

Sharon A says

No joke on the spellings, I had trouble finding my post from last year in my own blog listing! This time got smart and added a bunch of spellings in tabs.

Sharon A

Leora says

Of course, my geeky reaction is self-hosted WordPress with lots of tags and good categories... glad you found a solution for next year.

Yehudit Julie says

Wonderful post Leora and I love your watercolor! This was the first year we had a Tu B'Shevat seder and we managed to eat fifteen different types of fruits!

Leora says

Sounds wonderful! So glad your family is enjoying the simha (given the difficult recent past).


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