Happy Birthday Trees

Today is Tu B’Shevat, one of the oldest holidays on the Jewish calendar.
But what exactly is it?  

The name Tu B’Shevat literally means “The 15th [day of the Jewish month of] Shevat.” And it was the day that an agriculturally driven society used to measure the age of fruit trees.  
Tu B’Shevat was every tree’s birthday.

You might ask, “Really? Why in the world...?”

Keeping track of the age of fruit trees is important because we are forbidden, according to the Torah, to eat fruit during a tree’s first three years of harvest. Once a fruit tree has given off fruit over the course of three Tu B’Shevat holidays...we are good to go. Eat away.

Tu B’Shevat has had a strong revival in Jewish life, celebrated by both religious and secular Jews, especially in Israel. It has become the Jewish Arbor Day of sorts, where we eat dried fruits and almonds. In fact, today there are even Tu B’Shevat seders including food and various prayers of gratitude for the nourishment trees provide us.

As a carpenter, I have truly come to appreciate the wide variety and broad utility trees offer our world. From fruit to shade, from oxygen to sheer beauty, trees are magnificent.

It is a Jewish custom to plant trees on Tu B’Shevat. And this year we have an extraordinary opportunity to participate in that custom by supporting our partner community of Kibbutz Erez and plant a tree in Israel on this holiday. Click here to find out more about this wonderful project and plant a tree or three today!


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