10 fun facts about Tu B’Shevat


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BILL MOTCHAN, Special to the Jewish Light

1. In Israel, Tu B’Shevat is like Earth Day, raising awareness about the ecology.

2. Part of the environmental awareness is to plant a tree or start an herb garden.

3. Planting trees in Israel is especially important right now; many were lost in forest fires last summer.

4. Jewish law prohibits cutting down a fruit tree without an acceptable reason.

5. January can be frigid in the Midwest but, in the Middle East, fruits are beginning to bloom.

6. It’s customary to eat more fruit as a way of praising G-d, who provides these plants.

7. Pair fruit with carob, which looks like chocolate but has a nutty taste.

8. You can drink a l’chaim on Tu B’Shevat using pomegranate or fig liqueur.

9. The holiday wasn’t always about trees and plants. It originally was related to accounting, the cutoff for calculating tithes.

10. There is no reference to Tu B’Shevat in the Bible; it does appear in the Mishna.