Caring for the environment is an important theme in the Jewish tradition. The holiday of Tu BiSh’vat, which means the fifteenth of Sh'vat and is the date of celebration, honors nature and is often called "the birthday of the trees." It's a good time to encourage children to begin thinking about trees and the role they play in our environment. Together with your children, watch the Shalom Sesame videos below to learn about Tu BiSh’vat. Then try some of the discussion ideas and activities below recommended by Reform Jewish educators to further extend the lessons learned in the videos. If you wish, share your experiences and ideas in the comments sections below!
Tu BiSh’vat is an opportunity to pause and think about the role trees play in our lives, and all of the things we enjoy that derive from trees. Take a leisurely walk together to discover and discuss what kinds of trees grow where you live, what is special about trees, why we need to take care of them, what trees provide, and what life would be like without them.
What is special about trees? What do trees contribute to our lives? What would life be like without them? Avigail’s tree is small and fragile. What do trees need to grow strong and tall?
Tu BiSh’vat is sometimes called the birthday of the trees. Why do you think trees need a birthday? What decorations and guests would a tree like at its party? What songs could be sung and what games could be played?
- Plan a Tu BiSh’vat birthday party for a tree
- Create your own funny forest.
- Eat fruit from the land of Israel.
- The birds and the trees.
- Read and cook together
Read more at ReformJudaism.org.