Tu B’Shvat – If You Can’t Plant a Tree, Hug One

By Deena Levenstein

Tu B'Shvat - Dry BonesWhile in certain parts of the world this season is known for bare trees and grey skies, Israel is quite the opposite. There are many blue-sky days and the rainy days make many parts of the country seem like they are covered in a lush carpet of green. The trees blossom and surprise wild flowers pop out of the ground for a few weeks (more on that here soon!).

It makes sense that it is this time of year that we celebrate Tu B’Shvat, the holiday known as the new year of the trees. This year it falls on February 4, 2015 (beginning on the eve before). It is the day on which people plant trees and generally become one with nature through fruit-eating and out-door frolicking.

The thing is that this year is Shmita, the sabbatical year in Israel during which the ground is allowed to rest. This means no planting, pruning, harvesting and other farming activity. Shmita is the seventh year in a seven year cycle (which, in turn, is part of a 50 year cycle) and it is observed by the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund.

So this year the holiday is a celebration of nature, as always, but sans tree planting.

There are events and Tu B’Shvat seders throughout Israel. Here is a list of things to do in Jerusalem for Tu B’Shvat this year. Full disclaimer: I wrote half of the list. 🙂

So go have yourself a happy Tu B’Shvat and a great hug with a tree.

Tu B'Shvat - blooming almond tree from wikicommons
‘Tis the season of blooming almond trees (photo source)


Deena Levenstein

Deena Levenstein is a writer and social-cultural entrepreneur in Jerusalem. She creates and hosts events and runs "Things to do in Jerusalem," a Facebook group of handpicked cultural events in the city. In her spare time she blogs at

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