WHAT IS TU BISHVAT?
Tu Bishvat, or Tu B'Shevat, is the New Year of The Trees. The name comes from the date of the Hebrew calendar (Tu means 15, and Shevat is the 11th Hebrew month). It usually falls in February. This is the day when trees in the Land of Israel officially wake up from their winter slumber and begin blooming and bearing a new fruit cycle.
HOW IS TU BISHVAT CELEBRATED?
It is the custom on Tu B'Shevat to eat from the fruits of Israel, the Shiv’at HaMinim, seven species of the land of Israel – wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates – that have a special significance in Judaism. Here are some easy Tu B’Shevat menus to get you started.
It has become a popular custom to also follow a Tu Bishvat Seder. The Tu B’Shevat Seder celebrates our yearning to return to the Land of Israel. The students of the Holy Arizal (Rabbi Isaac Luria in the 16th century, Sefad) compiled a Tu B’Shevat Seder somewhat similar to the Seder for Passover. It involves appreciating the fruits of the tree, particularly those native to the Land of Israel. The Tu B’Shevat Seder is based primarily on Kabbalistic sources. Since the order and the contents of the Seder do not follow specific Jewish law, there is much room for flexibility and creativity for each of you to conduct the Seder in your own way.