Posts filed under Tu B'Shevat

What you need to know about trees, Tu B’Shvat and the Jewish National Fund

“Be careful not to spoil or destroy my world—for if you do, there will be nobody after you to repair it,” God says in a Midrash in Kohelet Rabbah. For more than a century, Keren Kayemet LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), which calls itself “Israel’s largest environmental organization,” has followed that tenet by preserving nature in the Jewish state. The organization, which marked its 115th anniversary last month, launched a nationwide campaign for the Tu B’Shvat holiday in which more than half a million people are expected to participate in planting events through Feb. 17. recounts the history behind how both the Tu B’Shvat holiday and the KKL-JNF organization have become synonymous with planting trees in Israel.

Posted on February 6, 2017 and filed under Features, Israel, Tu B'Shevat.

The little-known Christian, Nebraskan roots of the modern Jewish Arbor Day

Did you know that the transformation of Tu B’Shvat from an obscure Kabbalistic holiday to its current incarnation can trace its origins to a Christian-oriented, proto-environmentalist activity in 19th-century Nebraska? Hizky Shoham, a research fellow at the Jerusalem-based Shalom Hartman Institute, recounts the story behind a little-known quirk of timing and history surrounding the “Jewish Arbor Day,” which falls on Feb. 11 this year.

Posted on February 6, 2017 and filed under Opinion, Israel, Christian, Tu B'Shevat.

Israel’s ancient and historic trees

In 2013, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) published a survey of mature trees in Jerusalem that was “the most comprehensive of the recent SPNI surveys, including some 4,000 trees,” according to the society’s marketing and communications coordinator, Danielle Berkowitz. Many of the trees identified through such surveys have rich histories and stories attached to them. In fact, hundreds of trees throughout the Jewish state illuminate fascinating aspects of Israeli history and culture. provides a sampling.

Posted on December 12, 2013 and filed under Tu B'Shevat, Special Sections.

Sparkle up your Tu B’Shevat seder

Winter fruit might seem less spectacular than the much more time-valued offerings of summer, but oranges and pears in particular, while quiet and “common,” can be the unexpected stars of simple savory dishes. This is perfect for Tu B’Shevat, writes bestselling cookbook author Mollie Katzen. Sparkle up your Tu B’Shevat seder with an easy but surprising sweet potato-pear soup, which goes perfectly with a winter salad featuring crunchy, colorful leaves refreshingly coated with orange sections and a yogurty-orange vinaigrette, and exuberantly dotted with pistachios (also from trees). Finish the meal with an old-fashioned cake brimming with apples and walnuts, and studded with cranberries.

Posted on December 12, 2013 and filed under Special Sections, Tu B'Shevat.

Originating in Kabbalah, Tu B’Shevat seder transforms into conduit for environmental activism

Often deemed controversial for its origins within the mysticism of Kabbalah, the Tu B'Shevat seder celebrates Israel's Arbor Day by the honoring the Earth and Jewish spiritual connections to nature. Rabbi/entrepreneur Jason Miller and leaders from the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life describe the importance of coupling the traditional seder format with environmental activism that the whole family can partake in.

Posted on December 12, 2013 and filed under Tu B'Shevat, Special Sections.