While Americans and Canadians are counting on Mr. Punxsutawney Phil, the official Ground Day fellow, to signal an early Spring this year, here in Israel, everyone’s mind is on Tu B’Shavat. As the traditional song for this time of the year proclaims, “Hashekaidia porachat – the almond trees are blooming as Tu B’Shvat (Arbor Day) will be celebrated on Sunday night and Monday, February 9-10. Although Tu B’Shvat has always held a halachic status as the “New Year” for the trees, in recent years there has been something of a spill-over connecting Tu B”Shvat with conservation and a day of environmental awareness.
In Girls Town Jerusalem, the students spent these past 6 weeks between Chanukah and Tu B’Shvat giving a special emphasis and raising awareness of the small steps that each young woman can do to undertake seemingly tiny but significant changes that effect the environment around her. The message was taken beyond the physical level where different practices were set in place regarding recyclables and waste in general to each girl being given an opportunity to set personal goals that are within her reach.
A huge “15 (Tu = the Hebrew letters TeT and Vuv which have the numeric value of 15) Fruits” festival will be held Sunday night featuring every type of fresh and dried fruits available with the spotlight on those that grown in the Land of Israel.