Israel and the Jewish world will soon be marking Tu B’shevat, a slightly lesser-known holiday but a glorious one nevertheless. Here are some ideas for activities during the holiday.
Photo credit: Israel Nature and Parks Authority/Channel 2 News
The upcoming holiday of Tu B’shevat is a celebration of nature, agriculture and the changing of seasons. Many Israeli families will be enjoying a variety of outdoors activities to mark the beginning of spring. If you happen to be visiting Israel at this time and would like to join in on the fun, here are some of your best options:
Visiting plant nurseries
A plant nursery – or “mishtala” in Hebrew – is the perfect place to celebrate a holiday that is all about plants. You can definitely count on most plant nurseries in Israel, from the north to the south, to mark the occasion by hosting some sort of event. Activities usually include a guided tour of the place with explanations about the different kinds of plants and seeds, as well as nature-related crafts for kids.
While a recommended activity all year round, it gets a special meaning on this holiday. After all, is there a better way of celebrating nature than by actually being in it?
The KKL or JNF (Jewish National Fund) organizes many tree planting events in forests all across the country. This is the real Tu B’shevat experience – celebrating nature by helping to enrich and expand it. These events sometimes also include guided tours.
Joining a Tu B’shevat Seder
Though a fairly recent custom, the Tu B’shevat Seder has become a beautiful tradition for many Israeli families. It is basically what it sounds like – a huge feast, often dairy but not necessarily. The really important things are the music, the wine and the big platter of dried fruits in the middle of the table.