Tag Archives: Tu Bishvat

Candy Tu B’Shevat

Fruit Shakers, Runts, and gummy worms

Fruit Shakers, Runts, and gummy worms

I wrote an article about using candy as an “enrichment” activity for Tu B’Shevat at Kveller.com: Tu Bishvat in Candy Land. Do read it. The hate mail I received as a result of the article indicates that the haters did not read it, else they would have learned that I do not propose that candy representations of actual tree fruit should replace traditional observance of Tu B’Shevat. Nor do I think that to let kids crush Oreos to produce “Edible Dirt” is an acceptable alternative to planting real seeds in real dirt. The word “enrichment” is a clue, my vigilant friends.  Continue reading

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Eat a fruit, plant its seeds for Tu B’Shevat

earliest spring leaves emerging now
earliest spring leaves emerging now

In How (and Why) to Let Kids Plant Parsley on Tu B’Shevat, I nattered on about the meaning behind growing parsley on the Birthday of the Trees. Because, really, isn’t it weird that a parsley project is the go-to activity for a holiday about trees? But in a nutshell, the big idea is this: to germinate parsley on Tu B’Shevat links the earliest of Spring holidays—when the sap/lifeforce begins to wake after winter—and Passover, the paradigmatic Spring holiday.  Parsley is Spring on a seder plate.  It is the most common representation of the karpas category, without which a seder can’t happen.  Makes perfect sense, this link and its timing, but still, tree it ain’t.  (Well, a curly parsley stalk does rather look like a miniature tree.)

Better we should grow a tree on the Birthday of the Trees, yes?  And what if the tree could be an olive or date or fig or pomegranate: four of the Seven Species of the Land of Israel (Deut. 8:8), the rock stars at a Tu B’Shevat seder?  How brilliant to grow an olive tree especially, whose fruit could give us oil to light Hanukkah menorahs. Or a an almond tree, the early bloomer celebrated in Israel on Tu B’Shevat. Or a citron tree to grow an etrog for Sukkot.  Or a palm or willow or myrtle to harvest for our own lulav.  Chills. Continue reading

How (and why) to Let Kids plant Tu B’Shevat Parsley

Tu B'Shevat parsley for Pesach karpas

Tu B’Shevat parsley for Pesach karpas

Tu B’Shevat is the New Year and/or Birthday of the Trees, but the classic Tu B’Shevat planting activity doesn’t really have much to do with trees. We plant parsley.  All over America, little Jewish kids plant parsley seeds on Tu B’Shevat.  Sounds like Sunday School in Chelm, right?  But it does make sense.  To germinate parsley seeds and use the plant two holidays later as the karpas on a Passover seder plate connects our earliest Spring holiday to our main Spring holiday, and it lets kids get their fingers dirty fostering green life from dormant seeds. Tu B’Shevat is the official start of the agricultural year, when tree sap (and all lifeforce by extension) begins to rise after winter rest.

Parsley, though, is not a tree. It’s easier, folks say, easier than Continue reading