Tu B'Shevat is celebrated on Saturday, February 11.
Tu B'Shevat, the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat, is a holiday also known as the New Year for Trees. The word "Tu" is not really a word; it is the number 15 in Hebrew, as if you were to call the Fourth of July "Iv July" (IV being 4 in Roman numerals). Tu B'Shevat is the new year for the purpose of calculating the age of trees for tithing. See Lev. 19:23-25, which states that fruit from trees may not be eaten during the first three years; the fourth year's fruit is for God, and after that, you can eat the fruit. Each tree is considered to have aged one year as of Tu B'Shevat, so if you planted a tree on Shevat 14, it begins its second year the next day, but if you plant a tree two days later, on Shevat 16, it does not reach its second year until the next Tu B'Shevat.
One custom is to eat a new fruit on this day, or to eat from the Seven Species (shivat haminim) described in the Bible as being abundant in the land of Israel. The Shivat Haminim are: wheat, barley, grapes (vines), figs, pomegranates, olives and dates (honey).
Some people plant trees on this day.
During the weekend of February 9 – 12 Congregation Etz Chaim will celebrate Tu B'Shevat by focusing on environmental issues. We will start the weekend early, on Thursday night, February 9, when the Environmental Team will partner with Life Tree Cinema to present the acclaimed film, “Renewal,” at 7:00 PM. At Tot Shabbat at 6:30 PM on Friday, Rabbi Cosnowsky will discuss the environment with the children. Friday night services at 8:15 PM will feature a talk by Christina Negri, an Agronomist and Environmental Engineer from Argonne National Laboratory. During Saturday morning's Torah study Rabbi Kamil will lead a discussion on an environmental theme found in our sacred books. At Tumlar on Sunday morning at 9:30 AM, guest speaker Rabbi Bob will discuss his solar panel initiative.
The exciting culmination of the weekend will be a special visit at Sunday school assembly of one of our well-known Super Heroes. You'll have to attend to find out who it will be!
Please join the Tu B'Shevat festival to have fun, to learn more about environmental issues, and how we can fulfill our obligation as Jews to engage in Tikkun Olam.