Some call it the Jewish Arbor Day, but Tu B’Shevat is a lot older and more defined. While Arbor Day first came up in history in 1594 when a mayor of a Spanish town encouraged his citizens to plant trees, Tu B’Shevat is more than 2000 years old.
Originally started as the New Year for Trees with specific legal ramifications, it evolved over the centuries into a holiday celebrating trees and its fruits, with the custom of eating a dazzling array of nature’s sweets becoming de rigueur.
It also took on ecological themes via the Kabbalists in the 16th century celebrating it, as on Passover, with a Seder (symposium about trees, nature, and spirituality). Finally, in the last thirty years, as Global Warming and Earth Day started becoming part of the global collective consciousness, Jews the world over have connected the holiday with saving the planet and connecting to nature.
Here at CBI, we celebrate with a Seder and a spread of delectable fruits. We sing and play music, and try to get in touch with nature and the preservation of our precious Earth.