The celebration of Tu B'Shevat (alternative spellings include Tu BiShvat or Tu B'Shvat) is the New Year of Trees which is one of the four New Years referenced in the Mishnah or Mishna. This is a minor Jewish Holiday in modern times serving as a tree planting festival and celebration. The holiday is believed to have originated as an agricultural festival indicating the onset of Spring and the fiscal new year of agriculture.

The Hebrew spelling of Tu B'Shevat is ט״ו בשבט‎. This holiday occurs each year in the month of Shevat on the 15th day. Tu B'Shevat is known as the New Year of Trees, Rosh HaShanah La'llanot (ראש השנה לאילנות). Each year on Tu B'Shevat Israelis and Jews across the globe plant trees to celebrate, along with commemorate and honor loved ones on this Jewish Arbor Day.

Dates for Tu B'Shevat

Hebrew Dates: 15 Shevat 5778 15 Shevat 5779 15 Shevat 5780 15 Shevat 5781
Gregorian Dates:
(begins sundown, evening before)
January 31, 2018 January 20, 2019 February 09, 2020 January 28, 2021

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Customs and Rituals

The traditions and customs of Tu B'Shevat vary, however, the most common include planting trees and gathering with family and friends for a meal. The meal, considered a Tu B'Shevat Seder is similar to the Passover Seder. Typically the food consumed at the sedar incorporate fruits and nuts native to Israel (e.g., almonds, barley, dates, figs, grapes, pomegranates, olives, and wheat). Together, the Seder and planting of trees in Israel brings families closer together and symbolically connects all Jews around the world.

The modern practices and interpretations of Tu B'Shevat often revolve around the earth and environment. This holiday, the Jewish Arbor Day, is a celebration of nature and appreciation for G-d creating the natural world. Consistent with this practice the planting of trees is deep rooted.

In addition, there is significance and connectivity between the agricultural laws in Israel and the land itself. Often the Hebrew date of Tu B'Shevat is used for determining the age of fruit baring trees and therefore establishes the birth date. Therefore, Tu B'Shevat is the "birthday" of trees.

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Shehecheyanu: Blessings for Fruit

In general, it is appropriate and common to thank G-d by reciting a blessing prior to eating fruit as it is a joyous and happy occasion.

“Baruch Atah Adod-nai Elohai-nu Melech HaOlam boray pri ha-aitz.”
“Blessed are you God, King of the Universe, Who creates the fruit of the tree.”

Celebrating & Remembering Loved Ones During Tu B'Shevat

Tu B'Shevat is a joyous occasion celebrating land and joining together with family. It is appropriate to commemorate, honor and reflect on deceased loved ones during this holiday.

In the Jewish faith, there are many ways to celebrate, honor and commemorate the lives of loved ones to help carry on traditions, customs and rituals. In Judaism, it is important to perpetuate the life and legacy of friends, family and ancestors. During all life-cycle events, but in particular when someone has experienced a loss during a shiva and throughout the mourning process, planting a tree is a very common and appropriate way to show your support.

History & Traditions of Tu BiShvat

According to Jewish tradition the 15th of Shvat is the day when the sap within trees starts to move upward, indicating the Winter is nearing an end and the onset of Spring. Although considered a minor holiday in stature, the connection to earth, the land and humanity is celebrated on this day.

Funerals, Shiva, and Jewish Mourning

During Tu B'Shevat Jewish teaching provides specific guidelines for how the deceased should be mourned by the family through defined Periods of Mourning in Judaism.

The Jewish burial has unique practices; most notably, the funeral generally occurs within a couple of days after the death. Similar to other faiths, when an individual passes away the family is responsible for making many decisions and details surrounding the funeral and level of observances.

After the burial, the first a period of mourning begins. Shiva (meaning “seven”) consists of seven days of mourning during which family members remain in their home.

If a Jewish funeral and burial takes place on a holiday or while the family is sitting shiva, this is often treated the same as Shabbat. Generally, the mourning period begins at sunset when the holiday ends.

Because of the sensitive nature of the time of loss, a Rabbi should be consulted for proper procedures for mourning during Tu B'Shevat. The Rabbi will take into account the circumstances, traditions and Scripture and offer guidance.

History of Planting Trees in Israel

Over the past 113 years it has been a primary focus to plant trees in Israel to help green the lands. One of Jewish National Fund's founding principles is to preserve and green the land of Israel. During this time, JNF has led the way, planting over 250 million trees, creating and building over 240 reservoirs and dams, developing over 250,000 acres of land, and establishing more than 2,000 parks.

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