It’s still technically winter here and we have days, yet, of winter weather. But already the earliest trees, the almonds, are in bloom.
Tomorrow, Shabbat, is also Tu B’Shvat — the New Year for trees. This has significance in Jewish law regarding how the age of a tree is determined (that being important to determine when its fruit may be used). But in large measure, this is not a consideration as the day is celebrated. We do planting of trees (this year before Shabbat), eating of fruits and nuts — sometimes in a Tu B’Shvat "seder."
In honor of the holiday, I would like to share some information (with thanks to Mordecai Ben-Menachem) about trees:
The Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael — KKL) has been in existence for 106 years. In that time, they have overseen the planting of 230 million trees. Israel is the only country in the world to have more trees at the end of the twentieth century than it had at the beginning.
This year KKL is at work on the planting of some 250,000 trees in the north burnt out during the war. (It is not uncommon, by the way, even when we are not in a hot war, for Arabs to set fire to stands of trees as a way of getting us.)
Let us be positive and celebrate. Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael has put out a very cute one-minute sequence to honor the holiday that can be accessed at: www.eyarok.org.il/tubishvat.html . The very minimal instructions are in Hebrew. Click on the arrow to start it. When it’s done, you can click on the bird on the right to run it again and the one on the left to send it to someone else.
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2007/2/2/posted-february-2-2007.html