February 5, 2017

Tu B’Shvat, which falls this year on February 11, is often called the Jewish New Year for Trees because it’s when fruit blossoms start appearing toward the end of the winter rains.

Since 1892, the holiday has been celebrated in Israel by planting trees. In more recent years, Tu B’Shvat has morphed into a Jewish Earth Day with its own Seder featuring Israeli wines and fruits.

If you can’t be in Israel for the holiday, you can download a KKL-JNF Tu B’Shvat Seder Kit — in English, French, Spanish or Russian — by clicking here. Or play a virtual tree-planting game online by clicking here.

This vintage poster designed by Gila celebrates Tu B'Shvat. Photo courtesy of KKL-JNF Archive
This vintage poster designed by Gila celebrates Tu B’Shvat. Photo courtesy of KKL-JNF Archive

If you are in Israel that week, you have a choice of activities for all ages geared to the theme of nature and ecology:

Tu B’Shvat Tree Nursery Celebrations will be held on February 6-8 at Gilat Nursery in the Western Negev from 9-3 and Golani Nursery in the Lower Galilee, 9:30-3 February 8-10. Learn about the lifecycle of a seedling until it leaves the nursery for the forest. Register for these free events at moked1@kkl.org.il or 1-800-350-550.

On February 8 and 9, the public is invited to participate in Tu B’Shvat tree plantings at the Jerusalem’s Gazelle Valley Park between 2 and 4:30pm.

A Tu B’Shvat Seder in English and Hebrew will be held at Ginger Vegetarian Community Center, 8 Balfour Street, Jerusalem, February 9 at 7pm. Participants will sample rare fruits and share tree-related songs, poems and stories. Admission: ₪25; information: 02-566-5737.

On February 10, the public is invited to free KKL-JNF plantings in Lavie Forest in the north from 9-3 and in central Israel’s Eshtaol Forest from 9-2. Shuttles to Eshtaol will leave from the Armored Forces Memorial parking lot near Latrun. Information: 1-800-350-550.

A Tu B’Shvat excursion is planned on February 10 for young professionals ages 25-45 to Neot Kedumim Nature Reserve for a guided tour and tree planting, ₪125 NIS. Bus departs 8am and returns 1pm at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem. Registration: 02-560-9100.

JNFuture Israel Tree Planting & Wine Drinking trip to Neot Kedumim and Tzuba Estate Winery for 20s and 30s on February 10 departs by bus from Tel Aviv at 7:45am and returns 2:30pm. Register here to find out bus location. Free for JNFuture Israel Members; ₪30 for non-members.

Ramat Rachel Hotel, located at Jerusalem’s only kibbutz, will sponsor a family celebration on February 10 and 17, 12:30 to 3: 30, including plantings, making a family name sign, decorating a tree with Tu B’Shvat wishes, story time, and baking bread in a taboon. Information and registration: shivuk@krr.co.il

Plant flowers at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens on Tu B’Shvat. Photo: courtesy
Plant flowers at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens on Tu B’Shvat. Photo: courtesy

The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens in Givat Ram is throwing a birthday party for trees in the Experiential Garden for parents and children on February 11 from 10 to 2. There will be surprises along the Children’s Discovery Trail as well as special workshops, flower planting and games. Two guides will help kids make Tu B’Shvat decorations from natural materials found around the garden as well as a recycled flowerpot to take home. Free with admission. Information: 02-679-4012.

Nature walks at Kibbutz Tzuba. Photo: courtesy
Nature walks at Kibbutz Tzuba. Photo: courtesy

Kibbutz Tzuba and its Kiftzuba amusement park, Tzuba Winery, Tzuba Hotel and Galita Chocolate Farm will be offering special Tu B’Shvat tours and workshops on February 11. The hotel restaurant will serve a special brunch including green shakshuka, green soup, green lasagna, and so on. Information: 02-534-7000.

Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem is celebrating Tu B’Shvat from February 11 through March 9 with special exhibitions, hands-on workshops and presentations on the latest Israeli ag-tech, fruits and flowers. Information: 02-654-4888.

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