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Tu Bishvat Seder: A Celebration of Renewal, Growth, and Hope

Sunday, January 24, 2021 11 Sh'vat 5781

3:00 PM - 4:30 PMZoom

It’s been cold and dark for a long time now, but the winter won’t last forever! Tu Bishvat, the new year of the trees, is a holiday that signals the coming of spring. We will begin to shift our mindset to renewal, growth, and hope as we begin a new year with new possibilities. Join us for a Tu Bishvat seder followed by your choice of breakout session. 

  • 3:00–3:40 pm Community Tu Bishvat Seder 
  • 3:40–4:20 pm Breakout Sessions 
  • 4:20–4:30 pm Siyyum (conclusion)

Seder supplies will be available for pickup from the side door at Temple Beth El.

  • Wednesday, January 20 from 9:00 am - 7:00 pm 
  • Thursday, January 21 from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Friday, January 22 from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm.

If you prefer to do your own shopping, a list is provided below so you can gather the necessary supplies to participate in the seder. Whether picking up a box or getting our seder foods, please provide your own preferred fruit of the vine, in both a dark and light variety. 

Choose from the following breakout sessions when you register. (If materials are required, they will be provided in your box. Please note that if people in your family want to attend different sessions, they will need to be on their own device/screen in a separate room to avoid feedback issues.) 

  • Breakout Session 1: Text study: “From the Fruitful Rabbinic and Mystical Minds: Original Conceptions of Tu Bishvat” Facilitator: Rabbi Jonathan Biatch.
    Although observances of Tu Bishvat—like our seder—originated in 17th-century Tzfat in northern Israel, beautiful prayers and poetry came forth from the creative minds and observant eyes of many earlier authorities. In this workshop, we will explore some of these masterful homages to the magnificence of trees and nature. 
  • Breakout Session 2: Discussion of the agricultural aspects of the holiday: “Our Place in Nature and the Cosmos” Facilitator: David Hollander.
    Tu Bishvat might seem, for us in the northern latitudes, an odd time to plant trees, and indeed it isn't ideal with the soil usually being frozen, but it is never a wrong time to take stock of our place in nature and the cosmos. 
  • Breakout Session 3: An exploration of music for the new year of the trees: “Az Y’ran’nu Kol Atzei Ya’ar—Let All the Trees of the Forest Sing Joyously” Facilitator: Cantor Jacob Niemi.
    When Jews began to immigrate to the land of Israel in the years before the establishment of the state, emphasis on cultivation of the land brought new significance to the holiday of Tu Bishvat, leading to a surge in musical creativity that was the basis for many of the songs that we still sing today. In this workshop, we’ll explore some of those songs, as well as others, and through listening (and perhaps singing), we’ll see how music can offer additional meaning to this holiday. 
  • Breakout Session 4: Hands-on, kid-friendly activity: “Making Our Gardens Grow” Facilitator: Allison Wexler, Camp Intern and JEWniors Advisor.
    Kids of all ages will join Allison Wexler, for a simple planting project in celebration of the renewal of life that comes in the spring. (If you are shopping for your seder items, please see shopping list for breakout session 4 below.)

Families with kids age 0–5 may choose to register for the Young Families Tu Bishvat Seder and Activity option, which starts at 3:30 pm instead of 3:00 pm. Upon joining the event at 3:30 pm, they will go into a separate Zoom room for a very short seder appropriate for children age 0–5 and then will join Breakout Session 4 for a kid-friendly project. 

Shopping list for the seder:

  1. Fruit of the vine: Both a dark and a light variety 
  2. A food from each of the four categories: 
  • Fruit with a pit and a fleshy outside that can be eaten (e.g., olives, dates, apples, pears, plums, cherries, fresh apricot, kumquat, peach)
  • Fruit with a protective shell and edible inner part (e.g., clementine, edamame, tree nuts, pineapple, banana, coconut, kiwifruit, walnut, almond)
  • Fruit that can be eaten entirely (e.g., grapes, strawberries, blackberry, figs, raspberry, cranberry) 
  • Fruit that has both a protective shell and pits that cannot be eaten (e.g., oranges, grapefruit, lemon, lime, melons) 

Shopping list for breakout session 4:

  • Dixie cups
  • dirt
  • parsley seeds
  • an artificial flower or 2

Register below to receive the Zoom link by email. 


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