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Monday, February 13, 2006

Tu B'Shevat Memories

I have three distinct Tu B'Shevat memories, all quite different, and I thought I would relate them today, appropriately enough, since, unfortunately due to snow, the Tu B'Shevat seder I was supposed to attend was cancelled and all I am being able to do in lieu of that is eat my daily apple. My first Tu B'Shevat memory comes from sometime around 10 years old. In Sunday School, we learned about Tu B'Shevat being the New Year for trees. They made a big deal about fund-raising for the Jewish National Fund, we each were supposed to have our parents purchase a tree in Israel. In addition to buying trees and adding to my collection of JNF certificates my family had been compiling since my birth (or possibly my parent's wedding), we also took an actual tree and planted it in the courtyard of the temple I attended. Each of us got to put a little dirt in the hole they had dug, and soon, there was a little sapling standling above us. It was cute. The second distinct memory I have of Tu B'Shevat was a seder that I attended in Tzfat. It was seven years ago today, and I was in Tzvat for a couple days, checking out the scenery and seeing what was there. Someone invited me to a seder, and I had never attended one before (at least not one for Tu B'Shevat), so I thought it would be fun. It was quite interesting. The had a whole service with four cups of wine (two red, two white) and many different fruits, nuts and other delicacies. Tzvat is an experience in and of itself, but being there for a "chag" was even more spiritual. Some of the attendees recited poetry they had written about Tu B'Shevat and we had deep discussions about the symbolism and connection between trees and life. It was certainly an experience I will never forget. The third memory of Tu B'Shevat that I have is a few years ago in Lakewood. It was a couple weeks after a really bad break-up, and my friend in Lakewood invited me to escape everything for a couple days. She was about to have her first child (really about to - she had her baby the very next week!), but she understood my need to get away, so she welcomed me with open arms. Her husband is from England and his family had the tradition of having 25 or more different kinds of fruit for Tu B'Shevat - any kind they could find, so there was a treasure trove of fruits to try that I had never even heard of. Some of them were yummy, some of them I can't say I would try again, if I would even remember their names. We had a nice Shabbos, and it did take my mind off my sorrows, was comforting as needed. Three Tu B'Shevats - all very different. Maybe one day I will make my own tradition for Tu B'Shevat, maybe a blend of all three of my memories. What's your favorite Tu B'Shevat memory?

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