What is Tu B’Shvat? Find out at our WinterGreen Festival.

Have fun making instruments out of recyclables at our Tu B’Shvat Festival. Photo: Geoffrey Berliner

Our WinterGreen festival this Sunday, January 27, will celebrate Tu B’Shvat – one of the lesser known of Jewish holidays. Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish New Year of Trees, celebrates trees and the start of spring in Israel. In recent years, this “Jewish Arbor Day” has becoming increasingly popular as a day to reflect on Jewish cultural and environmental roots. There are a number of holiday customs, including the eating of the 7 foods of the Land of Israel. (You will have to come to our event to find out what these seven foods are and enjoy tasty samples courtesy of The Pickle Guys and The Sweet Life.)
 Check out Hazon’s website for great resources about Tu B’Shvat.

There will be many opportunities to explore both Jewish environmental heritage and roots on Sunday. Genealogist Roger Lustig will be on hand in our FamilyHistoryCenterto answer questions about how to conduct family research, tracing your ancestry back to earlier generations. We’ll also have activities for kids, including creating a family tree and making musical instruments out of eco-friendly materials followed by a concert by Bash the Trash. The Lower East Side Ecology Center will be on hand to conduct composting workshops (love those worms). Barley and olives are two of the foods associated with the holiday so we’ll have beer and olive tastings.

Museum educator, Mattie Ettenheim, will conduct a Tu B’Shvat seder for those who are curious to learn more about holiday customs.  And in celebration of all things environmentally-friendly, I’ll be leading “green” synagogue tours that showcase the eco-friendly aspects of our restoration of the Eldridge Street Synagogue. Come and learn how we have used recycled milk jugs and denim jeans in hidden spaces in the building!

In all, our WinterGreen Festival: A Tu B’Shvat Celebration promises to be a special day focusing on trees and roots – of both the physical and family genus.

Thank you to the Lori and David Moore family for sponsoring this special day!

Tell us if you do anything special to celebrate Tu B’Shvat. 

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