Tu BiShvat (Hebrew for the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat) is the new year of the trees.
The one thing that I could relate to from the beginning was the melodies; they seemed to invite me to join in. Long before I had the courage to learn to read Hebrew or take Introduction to Judaism, I could sing along with the congregation.
Ignorant of my faith, I could not turn to Judaism when my brother died 25 years ago. Ritual was not a part of my upbringing, and it lingered in the shadows through my 20s and most of my 30s. Only in the last decade have I started to follow the path that Judaism sets for mourners.
The arid desert shall be glad, the wilderness shall rejoice and shall blossom like a rose. It shall blossom abundantly; it shall also exult and shout. It shall receive the glory of Lebanon, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon...
How can a young man keep his way pure? By holding to Your word. I have turned to You with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commandments.
...There was a great and mighty wind, splitting mountains and shattering rocks by the power of the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind - an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake - fire; but the Lord was not in the fire.
You shall make no covenant with them and their gods. They shall not remain in your land, lest they cause you to sin against Me; for you will serve their gods - and it will prove a snare to you.