Tu BiShvat (Hebrew for the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat) is the new year of the trees.
Tu BiShvat, called the "New Year of the Trees," falls at a seemingly incongruous time of year.
Tu BiShvat is a minor festival whose provenance dates only to the time of the Second Temple. However, the kabbalists who clustered around the great fifteenth-century mystic Isaac Luria of Safed placed great weight on the holiday, creating new festivities, gatherings at which hymns were sung, fruit (particularly carob) was eaten, and four cups of wine were taken (as in the Passover seder).
Last year our education center at Shorashim was asked by a high school in Haifa to help the staff there produce a day-long seminar for the 400 eleventh graders on Jewish pluralism and on what is shared – and what are the conflicts – among the various "streams" of Judaism.
I broke my wrist. Bummer. Major bummer. I didn’t do it with any kind of grace or with anything close to a great story attached to it. I tripped over a curb at the Mobile station. Great story. Did I mention I broke my right wrist, and that I am right-handed?
Last month I visited Beit Shemesh, a city less than an hour’s drive from Jerusalem. We had read about some of the most noteworthy incidents there, such as when a young girl was spat on by an ultra-Orthodox extremist on her way to school.