In Featured at HBT, Reflections: Rabbi Zachary Goodman

Tu B’Shevat in Canada

This Sunday night marks the beginning of Tu B’Shevat, a Jewish festival that draws heavily on themes of nature and renewal. Also known as “Rosh Hashannah L’Ilanot – The New Year of the Trees”, Tu B’Shevat is one of the four New Year festivals celebrated in the Jewish calendar. This holiday marks the beginning of springtime in the Land of Israel when the winter rains cease and the almond trees begin to blossom!

What Does “Tu” Mean?

Tu B’Shevat is also called Chamishah-Asar B’Shevat (the “15th of Shevat”) because the holiday is observed on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. Fun fact, every letter in the Hebrew alphabet has a numerical value. (Alef equals one, Bet equals two, Gimel equals three, and so on.) The Hebrew letters used to create the value of 15 are tet (nine) and vav (six). “Tu – or – Tet Vav”, then, is an abbreviated way of saying “15th of Shevat.”

It Doesn’t Feel Like Spring!

For us living in Toronto, Tu B’Shevat, our holiday celebrating trees and the renewal of the earth, generally falls during a very cold and snowy month! So how can we celebrate? Jane Herman, a regular contributor to, suggests for us seven ways we can commemorate this holiday during the frigid winter months.

Celebrating Tu B’Shevat in February

  1. Visit an indoor botanical garden. (Click here for some fun options!)
  2. Grow indoor plants from seeds. (HINT: If you plant parsley now… it will be ready in time for Pesach!)
  3. (Re)commit to Recycling.
  4. Host a Tu B’Shevat Seder (Click here for some guidance!)
  5. Study Torah – our Eitz Chaim, Tree of Life. Join us on Saturday mornings in the Enkin Board room or consider joining one of our many other incredible learning communities at Holy Blossom.
  6. Research your family tree.
  7. Make a donation to plant a tree or support wildlife.
    1. Australia – Various Organizations (Click Here)
    2. Canada – Shoresh (Click Here)
    3. Israel – JNF (Click Here)

Wishing you and your family a Sameach Tu B’Shevat – Happy Tu B’Shevat. May you find a meaningful way to celebrate, joy in your relationship with our planet, and a sense renewal in your lives. On behalf of the entire Holy Blossom community, we hope you find that Life Can Blossom Here!

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