Tu B’Shvat prompts food tasting and learning


Photo by Matthew Rabinowitz

Orange slices, red grapes, dried figs and dried apricots were available in the CESJDS cafeteria for students to celebrate Tu B’Shvat on Jan. 31 during both high school and middle school lunches.

Matthew Rabinowitz, Reporter

Traditional holiday fruits were given out during both middle school and high school lunches on Jan. 31 as a way for CESJDS students to celebrate Tu B’Shvat.

Tu B’Shvat is the Jewish new year for trees. The holiday has a large focus on nature, and it is customary to plant trees or eat certain fruits listed in the Torah. Some people have Tu B’Shvat seders in which they eat traditional fruits.

On Wednesday, students and faculty were encouraged to read about the holiday and recite the blessing for fruit. Math Department Chair Reuben Silberman was happy that the school gave out fruit and even spent time to learn about the holiday while getting his servings.

“I have said the bracha. I haven’t said one in a while, so I enjoyed that and I enjoyed the figs,” Silberman said.

Junior Sophia Sadikman did not find the opportunity to recite the blessings to be meaningful, but she was nevertheless happy that the school was at least trying to do something for the holiday.

“I think that it’s a good start, but personally, I think they should be doing a bit more, just because a lot of people forgot that it was even Tu B’Shvat,” Sadikman said.

Upper School Jewish Life Director Stephanie Hoffman said that she has been looking for different ways to celebrate the holiday. Possibilities include special Kehillah programs, experiential activities, and discussions in non-praying Zman Kodesh options

Sadikman appreciates the opportunities to support holidays like Tu B’Shvat at JDS.

“I think Tu B’Shvat is often overlooked as a holiday and overall it is important that we as a Jewish day school celebrate all the Jewish holidays, even the minor ones because it allows us to connect more to Judaism and to Israel,” Sadikman said. ” 

Silberman feels that since Tu B’Shvat is so focused on the outdoors,  it would be nice to some sort of environmental programming. Hoffman is contemplating more ways to incorporate the many aspects of the holiday, like the outdoors, into the day.

“I’m always thinking about what are ways to bring information and experiences to the students that they have not necessarily done in that way before and that makes it accessible, specifically with Tu B’Shvat, while also not taking class time away from them,” Hoffman said.