WHITE PLAINS, NY — January 1, 2014 – The Westchester Community for Humanistic Judaism will host a Tu B’Schvat Seder with light vegetarian refreshments on Saturday, January 18, starting at 2pm at the Community Unitarian Church, 468 Rosedale Avenue, White Plains.
Dmitry Turovsky, a resident of Scarsdale and president of the congregation explained, Tu B’Schvat as a Jewish winter holiday which has been gaining popularity in recent years as the New Year of Trees, and with today’s concerns over the environment, this holiday takes on even greater meaning.”
Rabbi Frank Tamburello, and Dmitry Turovsky, are coordinating the event. The cost is $10 pp for non members and reservations must be made before January 16. RSVP to Charlotte Klein by calling 914-218-8535 or by directing email to: CharlotteKlein48@verizon.net. For more information visit www.wchj.org .
In ancient times this “new year” was connected with a tax levied on fruit trees in Israel. Because of its secular nature, the rabbis treated Tu B’Shvat, literally the 15th of the Hebrew winter month of Shvat, as a very minor holiday. Jewish mystics in the 1600’s linked this holiday with the Kabbalistic notion of the “Tree of Life”, and began holding seders, or celebratory meals in its honor, using wines of varying colors, fruits and nuts, symbolizing the passage of the seasons.
With the rise of environmental movements, Tu B’Shvat has taken on another dimension, and is now considered the “Jewish Earth Day”. Our responsibility for the earth has its roots in the Jewish ideas that we are partners in creation, and Jewish environmentalists have developed the concept of “eco-kosher” as a synonym for “environmentally and socially responsible” or “green”.