Tu B’Shvat

Tu B’Shvat is the perfect example of how change allows the continuity of Jewish life. The holiday is an ancient one, originally a tax day for fruit trees. When this became unusable (Jewish sovereignty over ancient Israel/Judah lasted only about 80 years), the holiday morphed into a celebration of the trees coming into bloom in the land of Israel, a place far from the Jews who observed this holiday. With the establishment of the Jewish settlements in Palestine in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the holiday became an occasion for donating to plant trees. This kept up after the establishment of Israel and in some communities continues to this day. But in more modern, non-Zionist communities, Tu B’Shvat has become our Earth Day – a day to celebrate nature and to recommit to its preservation. Our tree-planting is to save the environment for the whole world. It’s new wine in old bottles. The reason we can celebrate the ancient holiday of Tu B’Shvat is that we continually reinterpret it to fit the needs of those celebrating in every time and place. Jewishness is a living tradition – and life means constant change. Our Secular Humanistic Judaism, with its embrace of the power of reinterpretation, is helping to keep the Jewish People alive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *