By Alyssa Gorenberg

Tu B’Shvat is almost here! January 19th and 20th to be exact, and there is still time to get your program application in to observe the first holiday of 2019. This holiday is known as the birthday of the trees and there are so many ways to celebrate. If you’re feeling a little stuck I have five different program ideas! ! Check them out below.

  1. Give back to planet earth and clean up your community. Gather your friends together and clean up your local park! Once clean, enjoy a plant based meal or snacks to celebrate your tikkun olam efforts. You could even try to make a zero waste meal by using food from recyclable packaging and reusable plates and flatware.
  2. An important (and tasty) mitzvah to complete on Tu B’Shvat is trying new fruits! If you can’t find one of these 15 exotic fruits to try in your local market or aren’t feeling too adventurous, I would highly recommend making (and eating) some of these 27 fruit filled desserts at your Tu B’Shvat celebration. A fruit (or fruit dessert) potluck sounds like the sweetest way to enjoy.
  3. If you live in a big city, in an apartment, or in a very dry climate, you and your friends probably don’t have the capacity to plant a full grown tree in your yard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some greenery to brighten up your living space! You can purchase flower pots, art supplies, and maybe even some dirt and seeds to spruce up your living spaces. I love watching everything bloom in the spring so take this opportunity to plan for some May flowers.

    Alyssa, age 15: “In reality I am digging a hole to bury a time capsule but it looks like I am digging a hole to plant a tree”

  4. Seders are not just for Passover! Tu B’Shvat has its own seder rooted in 16th century Jewish mysticism. It’s not commonly practiced, but it’s a beautiful tradition to experiment with in your MHWOW programming. This can be done over a full vegetarian meal or a wide variety of fresh and dried fruits, and of course, wine or fruit juices! Check out Hazon’s Tu B’Shvat Haggadah if you are interested in leading your own.
  5. If a Seder isn’t your vibe, consider having a Jewish Learning program focused on the foods we eat. A perfect segue could be having a plant based meal and a text study about personal Kashrut practices. For example, I have never kept Kosher, but a couple years ago I changed my diet completely. I gave up meat and poultry, bought significantly less fish as long as it was responsibly caught, and tried to eat more local, in season foods because I learned how much better my diet would be and how much better I would be treating the earth. I adopted this as my own interpretation of Kashrut because my choice stemmed from Jewish teachings.

Whatever you’re doing for Tu B’Shvat, we want to see it! Share your programs on Instagram or Facebook, brownie points if you tag Moishe House or use #moishemoment. Happy hosting!

-Alyssa Gorenberg, MHWOW Program Coordinator