Save the Date: the New Year of the Trees is coming!

Birch tree in autumn.

Dear friends and members of CBI,

The moon of Tevet is waning now. When next we see the full moon, it will be the full moon of Shvat, which rises on Tu BiShvat, the New Year of the Trees. Tu BiShvat is 3 weeks (and a few days) away — hence this Save the Date notice.

Tu BiShvat is the (observed) birthday of every tree; it’s the date when our tradition says the sap begins to rise again for the coming year. (Perhaps the sages of old had some mystical insight into the New England pastime of sugaring?) This year we’ll celebrate Tu BiShvat at CBI at three different events, each geared toward a different age group.

On Sunday February 5, the Hand in Hand families will celebrate Tu BiShvat with an age-appropriate simple seder of fruits, nuts, juices, and songs.

On Wednesday February 8 (Tu BiShvat itself), we’ll hold a potluck Tu BiShvat seder for adults and teens which will feature the aforementioned symbolic fruits and juices as well as some teachings from kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), some teachings from the Jewish environmental tradition, some contemporary poetry, and some wonderful conversation. Bring a vegetarian/dairy potluck dish to share, as after we’ve eaten the fruits and nuts which are part of the symbolic journey of Tu BiShvat, we’ll enjoy a festive meal.

And on Sunday February 12, the Avodah kids (grades 1-4) and their parents will join Reb Rachel for their own age-appropriate seder and celebration.

This is a wonderful and sweet festival which connects us not only with Jewish mystical teachings about trees and God, but also with the progression of the seasons. (Tu BiShvat is exactly one month before Purim and two months before Pesach — in some ways, despite the snow and ice, this is our first hint that spring will someday come.)

Please save the date for our Tu BiShvat seder — whichever one seems most appropriate to you and your family. And if you’re coming to the Wednesday evening adult/teen seder, please RSVP so we have some idea of how many people to expect.

Wishing you every blessing as we move through winter and toward the promise of spring!

(And Shabbat shalom! I hope to see you at CBI tomorrow morning for prayer, song, and joy.)

Take care,

Reb Rachel

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