Fruity chocolate bark and a “chopped” salad competition are a few of the creative ways that the students of Chabad Hebrew School celebrated the recent Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shvat (literally, the 15th day of the month of Shevat on the Jewish calendar), also known as the Jewish “New Year for the Trees.”
Chabad Hebrew School of Orange County, led by Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston of Chabad of Orange County, enjoyed a unique morning of nature-inspired activities as they learned the traditions of the holiday of Tu B’Shvat.
“This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle,” explained Rabbi Burston. “We mark this day by eating fruit, as well as reflect on spiritual lessons we can learn from trees.”
A lavish fruit tasting bar was enjoyed by all the students. Chana Burston led the children in reciting the special “Shehechiyanu” prayer recited upon eating a new fruit. Featured in the fruit tasting bar were exotic fruits as well as the seven species of Israel – grapes, dates, olives, pomegranates, figs, wheat and barley.
Students created beautiful “Tu B’Shvat” chocolate bark to bring home and share with their families. A variety of fresh and dried fruits and seeds resulted in an artistic edible delicacy.
To emphasize the holiday theme, students participated in a competitive “Chopped Salad Competition”. Teams were challenged to use mystery ingredients and incorporate meaningful themes of Tu B’shvat. Points were awarded for creativity, taste and presentation.
Why is New Year for trees in the winter when it’s cold outside and there are no fresh fruits in sight? Rabbi Pesach says that the answer is an insightful and inspirational life lesson. “It may be chilly now, but the warmth and growth of Spring is underway. Deep underground the sap has begun to flow in the roots, preparing for another season of growth and life. To quote the sages, ‘Man is a tree of the field.’ “
For information on celebrating Tu B’Shvat and other Chabad programs, call 845-782-2770, write rabbi@ChabadOrange.com or log onto ChabadOrange.com.