Jewish Journal

For the Kids

by Abby Gilad

January 9, 2003 | 7:00 pm

And I don't mean the New Year that falls on Jan. 1. I mean the New Year of Trees. This year, Tu B'Shevat begins at sundown on Friday, Jan. 17 and ends Saturday, Jan. 18. This week's and next week's pages will be devoted to Tu B'Shevat.

Tu B'Shevat is a time of renewal; the winter rains are falling and we sense that a period of new growth is about to begin as each day grows longer.

Many people like to celebrate the holiday with a seder, similar to the Passover seder. More about that in next week's pages.

Important Tu B'Shevat Facts:

Tu B'Shevat simply means "the 15th of Shevat" -- the Hebrew month that coincides with January/February in the western calendar.

The 15th of the Hebrew month is always the full moon, so Tu B'Shevat is the full moon of Shevat.

Tu B'Shevat is the New Year for Trees, because on the 15th of Shevat in ancient Israel the new year's crop of fruit trees were tithed (that means that one-tenth of the crop was set aside) and brought to the Temple as an offering to God and to give to the priests and to the poor. With the full moon on the 15th of Shevat, a distinction was easily made between the old crop of fruit trees and the new year's crop.

Torah Tree Test:

In this week's portion, Bo, something eats up all the fruits and greenery on the trees.

Who or what is it?

Email your answer to abbygilad@yahoo.com  and look for the winner's name on an upcoming For the Kids!

Bring a picture of our earth and nature to Camp JCA Shalom, 34342 Mulholland Highway, Malibu, this Sunday and you could win a prize in the Tu B'Shevat Art Contest.

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