With all the talk about the environmental protection, who was the first to actually celebrate nature with a special holiday?
Long before Earth Day, Arbor Day – and even before Al Gore – the Jewish calendar honors Tu B’Shevat, the 15th of Shevat as the day that marks the beginning of a “New Year for Trees.” This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle.
We observe Tu B’Shevat by eating fruit, particularly from the kinds that are singled out by the Torah in its praise of the bounty of the Holy Land: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. On this day we remember that “Man is a tree of the field” (Deuteronomy 20:19) and reflect on the lessons we can derive from our botanical analogue.
Appreciating the Divine in everything around us – especially the habitat that provides us sustenance and allows us to live – is the essence of the entire purpose of existence.
That’s the reason the Old City Jewish Art Center is inviting you to participate in an artistic exhibit entitled “celebration of Trees” to open minds and perhaps reflect on the means to enhance our understanding. Therefore, next month, February 2023, we would like to exhibit some of your best of your works of art.