Monday, January 21, 2019

Today is Tu B'Shvat - Plant a Tree and Eat Fruits and Nuts from israel

Today is the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat, also known as Tu B'Shvat.  No, it's not another fast day.  It's a real holiday, but one without any restrictions.  The holiday is known as Jewish Arbor Day and the New Year for trees.  It's a day to feel good about the bounty of nature, including trees, fruits and nuts.

It is customary to eat fruits on this day, especially fruits from Israel.  This includes figs, dates, oranges, pomegranates, and persimmons or Sharon fruit (afarsimonim).  All are available at most supermarkets or gourmet groceries.

Trees have been very important to Israel from its earliest beginnings.  From the tree of knowledge of good and evil described in Genesis to the eucalyptus trees planted in the Huleh Valley to drain the swamps and make much of the land inhabitable early in the 20th century, trees have always been part of Jewish life.

Yaakov Kirschen, the political cartoonist whose daily Dry Bones comic strips have appeared in The Jerusalem Post since January 1973, is using his talents to highlight the value of trees to everyone, and especially to the Jewish people, throughout the millennia.
In addition to his cartoons, which are also published in his daily blog, Kirschen has written a book in comic book format, Trees...The Green Testament, that illustrates the history of the world as narrated by a tree.  The tree, from its days as a seed and a sapling, observes and comments on world events from its own perspective.

The book is now in its second edition and available on

Here's a Keren Kayemet L'Yisrael (Jewish National Fund) video tribute to the tree planting that's going on today all over Israel by students, soldiers, seniors, Knesset members, visitors, immigrants, and local residents. Enjoy!

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