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Tu B'Shevat

Figs for Tu B'ShevatTu B’Shevat, the New Year of the Trees, is Jewish Arbor Day, observed on the 15th (tu) of the month of Shevat.

The seeds of this holiday go back to the days of the Second Temple in Jerusalem when Tu B’Shevat was the New Year for the Trees, the day fruit trees were counted to determine one’s contribution toward support of the Priests and Levite overseers of the Temple. After the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 C.E., Tu B’Shevat continued and was reformed by the Kabbalists of the 16th Century as a way for Jews to symbolically bind themselves to their former homeland by eating foods that could be found in Israel.. The New Year for the Trees became a celebration with a mystical bent, including an organized seder with ceremonial foods and wine to highlight the connection we have with our trees, nature, and stewardship of the earth.

Tu B'Shvat Dried fruit Square

For more information about Tu B'Shevat, including history, customs and rituals, family activities, and recipes, go to ReformJudaism.org