Jan 24

Spring is here? A New Year for the Trees

The Jewish children on campus recently celebrated TuB’Shevat, the New Year for the Trees.  Within the Jewish tradition, the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shevat represents the day when the sap begins flowing upwards again, within the trees.  Spring has arrived…at least in the land of Israel… the winter rains are over and soon the land will be abloom with flowers and fragrance.

TuB’Shevat is an ancient and mystical holiday that is celebrated each year (exactly mid-point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox) by tasting fruits and nuts that come from the trees, as well as drinking four cups of wine or grape juice, representing the four seasons.  Our interconnection to trees and nature is emphasized, as is the need to protect, preserve and plant trees.

In Israel, the almond tree is the first to awaken out of its winter sleep. A skeptic once said, “Speak to me of G-d” and the almond tree blossomed.

Our Jewish Educator, Janet Tatz, did a wonderful job presenting the meal and the meaning behind the celebration of this special holiday. The Jewish students on campus were asked to think about the different types of people we encounter (and the personal characteristics WE sometimes display) and whether we have a hard shell on the outside of our hearts that might need to be cracked open so our love and joy can be released. I know sometimes I can be that proverbial “tough nut to crack,” making it hard to let others in.

As we celebrate the coming of Spring, perhaps we all can “turn over a new leaf” and resolve to open our hearts and minds more to God and others.