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Eco-Friendly Ways to Celebrate Tu B’Shevat

Tu B’Shevat, also known as The New Year of the Trees, is on January 15 and 16, 2014. Tu B’Shevat has been embraced by Jews around the world as a holiday focused on expressing thankfulness for trees, harvests and the natural world. If you choose to celebrate the holiday by holding a Tu B’Shevat Seder with family or friends, keep these ideas in mind for a truly eco-friendly event:

  • Go organic with your fruits, juice and nuts: Typically, the Tu B’Shevat Seder focuses on eating different types of fruits at different points in the Seder: those with a hard shell, those with a pit that cannot be eaten and those that are completely edible. Consider purchasing only organic fruits for this part of the service. Also consider going organic with the white and red grape juice that also is part of the traditional Seder “meal.”
  • Use reusable dishware and napkins for the Seder: Respect the New Year of the Trees by saving a tree. Use reusable dishes, utensils and glasses. Go with cloth napkins as well. This makes your Seder a more earth-friendly event .
  • Include action items in your Hagaddah: In addition to reading about the different seasons and tasting the different fruits and juices, include action steps your participants can take to help the environment after the Seder ends. Action steps could include contributing to organizations that plant trees in Israel or working to increase recycling at your school or workplace. Be creative!
  • Weather permitting, go back to nature: While your Seder may be indoors, consider using a location that is close to nature so that participants can actually see some trees or take a hike after the Seder ends. This will remind them about the importance of spending time in the natural world even during the cold winter months.

Chag Sameach!

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Gail Wechsler is the Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. She is the staff person for the Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), a committee of the JCRC and a part of the JCRC's Bohm Social Justice Initiative.
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