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    Tu Bishvat or Tu B'Shevat or Hebrew: ט״ו בשבט‎



    As green living gets more popular so does the celebration of the Jewish New Year of Trees which takes place on Tu B'Shevat (the 15th of the month of Shevet).

    Many Jews celebrate Tu B'shevat by honoring and educating about conservation. Celebrations often include a seder (which means order) with ritual and prayers involving the "seven species", fruits of the earth mentioned in the bible and native to the land of Israel: pomegranates, dates, barley, wheat, figs, olives, and grapes.

    The Mystical Origins of Tu B'Shevat

    The original Tu B'Shevat seder was a Kabbalistic Jewish mystical practice in the 17th century. To mystics, the seder is a reparation of the Tree of Life and an expression of four different planes of existence that are believed to make up the world.

    Lowest Level: Assiyah, action, represented by hard shelled fruits such as pomegranates.

    Second Level: Yetzirah, formation, represented by fruits with soft outside and hard insides such as dates and olives.

    Third Level: Briyah, creation, represented by soft fruits with no protection or pit such as grapes and figs.

    Highest Level: Atzilut, godliness, has no fruit to represent, but is itself kindness and beauty.

    (Hey, I said it was mystical... but isn't it interesting how creation is most vulnerable.)

    However, for most modern Jews, the seder consists of drinking wine, eating fruit, praising G-d for creating these things, and reminding ourselves that we are stewards of the Earth.

    Links to help you perform your own Tu B'shevet seder:

    What is Tu B'shevat?

    Tree Necklace

    (Love Tree Necklace by Seeka)

    Tu B'shwhat?

    Tu B'shevat literally means the "15th of Shevat" the Hebrew month which falls in the common calendar's January to early February. But Tu B'shevat is considered the Jewish New Year of Trees. Trees are extremely important in Judaism: trees are used metaphorically to consider G-d and life in Judaism and the planting of trees is holy. Combine that with the very modern importance of reclaiming the baron desert of Israel through planting trees, and it's easy to see why a celebration of trees is part of our tradition.

    (There are actually four "new year" celebrations in the Jewish calendar: Rosh Hashanah being the one we all know and love for the apples dipped in honey. There is also 1st day of the month in which Passover falls which is the New Year of Festivals, and then the first of Elul, falling late August, is the New Year of Cows. Really. )

    The origin of Tu B'shevat

    The Jewish New Year of Trees was originally the date Jews used to calculate the age of trees. A tree is as old as how many Tu B'shevats it has been on Earth. Why is this important -- to calculate the age of trees? Well, there is a Commandment in the Torah that people shouldn't eat the fruit from trees for the first four years: no one eats for the first three and then during the fourth year the fruit is picked but not eaten (instead is donated to "G-d"). Then after the tree reaches four years of age, people can eat the fruit. Go ahead and ask "why four years?" but there is no good answer except "it is Commanded."

    Modern Celebration

    The Tu B'Shevat seder began as a Kabbalistic Jewish mystical practice in the 17th century. Ecologically minded Jews have adopted Tu B'shevat as a time to honor conservation and sustainable agriculture. (I bet Madonna celebrates.) The seder pretty much consists of drinking wine, eating fruit, praising G-d for creating these things, and reminded ourselves that we are stewards of the Earth. One way we drive home the point is by eating carob. Carob is indigenous of the land of Israel and it takes a special meaning because of how long it takes to bear fruit: up to 70 years. "Why plant a carob tree if you won't live to eat its fruit?," an old man is asked in a Talmudic tale. The old man replies that it is for his children and grandchildren. We must take care of this world for the next generation.

    Along with carob, it is traditional to eat the "seven species", which are fruits of the earth mentioned in the bible and native to the land of Israel: pomegranates, dates, barley, wheat, figs, olives, and grapes. Also, participants get to drink four glasses of wine ranging from white to red. So, for example, you'd start with a Chardonnay, moving to a White Zinfandel (those morally opposed to white zin can obstain), continue with a Pinot, and end with a Cabernet.

    Shop Tu'Bshevat

     

     

    Happy New Year & New Stuff for 2008

    Hanukkah was an incredible whirl-wind for us at ModernTribe.com. Thank you to all our customers, non-profit affiliates, artists, designers, and suppliers for a wonderful first Hanukkah.

    There is so much to look forward to for 2008.

    New Stuff
    We have new stainless steel and gold anodized jewelry coming from Polli Designs including the gorgeous Leaf Pendant Necklace for Tu B'shvat, the Jewish harvest celebration. Tu B'shvat is the Jewish New Year for Trees and has become for many an ecological celebration centered around preservation of trees and the Earth. Look for more tree-themed items coming soon.

    Pomegranates are one of the seven species traditionally eaten on Tu B'shvat. In honor, we are adding to our pomegranate collection these pom-red vases or candleholders in two sizes.

    Shahar Peleg's Chainlink Bottle Holder was a huge hit with gift-givers. We're adding some more Peleg designs soon including this Hotman pot holder (may be a perfect gift for your hot man).

    Jewish t-shirts that are cool but not kitsch. We are so excited about these...

    Of course we'll be stocking up with modern Passover wares so that your seder can be fit with the 21rst Century.

    Better Shipping Notification and Shipment Tracking

    We changed our shipping methods. For US shipment we now ground ship FedEx or UPS which allows tracking. When our warehouse ships your package, you receive an email with ship notification and tracking information.

    No Limit Texas Dreidel to be sold in stores near you Hanukkah 2008.
    We are selling NLTD wholesale to retailers and non-profit organizations for fundraising. If you know of a synagogue gift shop or a Jewish non-profit who may want to sell No Limit Texas Dreidel contact us and let us know!

    Sign up for ModernTribe.com's newsletter to get notices of new stuff and discount codes.

    We always want to hear from you -- dear customers -- so don't hesitate to call or email us.
    1-877-324-1818, info@moderntribe.com

    -- Jennie