Despite its minor status in the hierarchy of Jewish holidays, Tu B’Shevat still has significance in today’s modern world. Tu B’Shevat has evolved into an opportunity to celebrate a connection to Israel while promoting environmentalism. Tu B’Shevat provides a wonderful opportunity for children to learn about the importance of a healthy planet.
In Sammy Spider’s First Tu B’Shevat, the Shapiros observe the holiday by going outside and planting a tree. While it’s much too cold here in Minnesota to do the same, there are still many ways to help the planet.
Many families will grow parsley so that kids can experience what it’s like to nurture a plant. The parsley could also be used on the seder plate for Passover. If you’re not into parsley, bean sprouts are a good alternative for a kid-friendly plant. Another option is donating to organizations like the Jewish National Fund which uses the money to plant trees in Israel.
Spend the day eating fruit and enjoying environmentally friendly activities. After each meal, practice recycling and put the fruit skins in the compost. Conserve your electricity and water by shutting it off when it’s not needed. Go to your local botanical gardens or nature conservatory (indoors if necessary) and walk around in the greenery. Test each other to see who can memorize the most plant names.
Whatever you choose to do, take this opportunity to talk to your kids about why it’s important to take care of the planet. It’s theirs to inherit and nurture.