Last Monday was the Jewish holiday Tu B’Shvat, which is similar to Earth Day. Tu B’Shvat is the “new year” for trees or nature in general. The reason Tu B’Shvat is at this time of year is because this is usually when the first trees in Israel start blooming. For the holiday, Jews will usually eat the seven species that are recognized in the Torah, which include wheat, barley, grape, fig, pomegranate, olive, and date.

Not only do we eat these seven species during Tu B’Shvat, but we will give back to our planet. We will usually plant trees or other plants during this holiday and some people will have a Tu B’Shvat seder. On Tu B’Shvat, our middle school went to the Coves and had a delicious Tu B’Shvat seder prepared there. We ate the seven species and also many other fruits and vegetables. We read from a Haggadah and we learned about some of the history of Tu B’Shvat. At the end of the seder, all the elderly people who joined us were very happy about the seder and hope to do it again next year.

For last week’s mitzvah trip, we visited St. Claire Academy and planted vegetables from Trad’s Garden Center in their garden. A lot of the students there are in poverty and the food from the garden will really help them. Planting these vegetables will not only be helping the kids, but it is part of the tradition of Tu B’Shvat. Also, visiting the elderly is a mitzvah and having a seder there for Tu B’Shvat is an amazing way to celebrate the holiday. Doing both of these acts made me feel good because I was helping out kids who were younger than us get food. I was also giving company to the elderly in a very delicious way.

Out of all the holidays, I really like Tu B’Shvat. The mitzvah trips that we do for the holiday are very fun. Its very meaningful also to help out the environment. I am very excited about Tu B’Shvat next year.

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