CLINTON, NJ — Jan. 25 marks the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shvat, known in Judaism as the “New Year for the Trees.” Seders and celebrations are held all around the world to commemorate this day, including right here in HunterdoN.
Kabbalistic mysticism teaches that Tu B'Shvat is an opportune time to celebrate how eating and enjoying the fruits of trees can be a bridge to spiritual connectivity and how it can bring back the blessing to the earth. In contemporary Israel, Tu B’Shvat is a day celebrated as an ecological awareness day and trees are planted in celebration.
This year, Chabad of Hunterdon County will host a unique Tu B’Shvat Seder to celebrate. In addition to honoring trees, there will be an emphasis on learning about the mystical reasons behind the significance of the seven special fruits and grain that the Land of Israel were blessed with: figs, dates, grapes, olives, pomegranates, wheat and barley. Guests will learn about the meaningful and spiritual connection between plants and humans, from a Kabbalistic perspective.
“Tu B’Shvat is like the Jewish Earth Day,” said Rabbi Eli Kornfeld, Director of Chabad of Hunterdon. “It is a day in which we celebrate the spirit of the earth, blessings of the trees, fruits, and greenery around us, and mankind’s unique relationship with nature.”
The holiday is celebrated on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat. At this time of year the trees are re-born into a new year of fruit production. This happens following the rainy season in Israel — usually beginning around October. It takes four months for the effects of the rainy season to saturate the soil and for the trees to begin producing fruit. It is customary during this holiday to increase the amount of fruits that you eat.
Attendees of the Seder held at Chabad will have a chance to taste these and other exotic fruits and learn about the “shivat haminim,” which are seven special species for which Israel is famous. There will also be an organic juice bar and a variety of wines offered. Everyone age 13 and older are welcome to attend.
The Seder will take place on Monday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. and the cost will be $10 per person. For more information or to RSVP call 908- 238-9002 or log on to www.JewishHunterdon.com.