JERUSALEM – Israelis celebrated on Wednesday the Jewish holiday Tu B’Shvat, the New Year of the Trees, by planting trees and eating fruit, especially dried fruit, as part of a festival related to the awakening of nature after winter.
Commemorated at the mid-point of the rainy season between January and February, Tu B’Shvat involves the planting of trees by a variety of groups, including members of the Israeli Parliament and schoolchildren, Rabbi Daniel Whitman told EFE.
Whitman explained the practice of eating dried fruit came about because “when the Jews were not yet in Israel, they received fruits from here that were sent to Europe and other parts of the world, but many were spoiled and that’s why they began to consume them dry, a tradition that continues until today.”
Many children now plant different kinds of greenery, not necessarily fruit trees, Whitman added.
Although it is not a public holiday, Israeli members of parliament celebrated Tu B’Shvat by planting trees and shrubs in areas surrounding their headquarters, as the holiday marks the anniversary of the chamber’s founding.
Tu B’Shvat occurs each year on the 15th day of Shevat, the 11th month of the Hebrew calendar.