Despite Storm Ciara, we made it to KLS to celebrate the new year for the trees
KLS marked Tu Bishvat – the New Year for trees – on Sunday 9 February with a seder, following a tradition going back to the 16th century, and pizza, our young people’s choice for the 21st century.
Over two dozen people, mainly families with children coming up to Bar/Bat Mitzvah or Kabbalat Torah, struggled through the howling winds of Storm Ciara, to reach the serenity of KLS.
It reminds us of our role as custodians of the environment.
The name, Tu Bishvat, is simply the festival’s date in the Hebrew calendar – the 15th of the month of Shevat. It coincides with the first sap rising in the fruit trees in the land of Israel.
It is an occasion to remind ourselves of our role as stewards of God’s creation in looking after the environment that has been passed to us from previous generations so that future generations may enjoy it.
Fruits for each season…..
The seder is broken into four parts representing the different seasons. For each season, we reflect on its particular aspects for trees and our own lives, drink a particular mix of white and red grape juice, and symbolic fruits and nuts.
For example, in the winter section we eat foods which are hard on the outside but soft on the inside. We ate walnuts, almonds and pomegranates, and drank colourless fruit juice. It is a time when many species in nature lay dormant, the seeds “asleep” in the ground but will go on to sprout new trees in spring. They are good reminders not to judge others by their appearance.
Having worked their way through a dozen different varieties of fruit and nut, saying the appropriate blessings, we finished off with pizza. Some with olives – a fruit with a pit at the centre, the seed of rebirth!
Lily Scheib, a GCSE student, said “My generation cares a lot about the environment and we are very aware of the threat of climate change to it. The seder was a great reminder that we need to do something to protect it.”