Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I Speak for the Trees...

Tonight begins the Jewish holiday of Tu-bishvat (New Year of the Trees)..or Jewish Arbor Day...It is a celebration of the environment and the beauty that is the Earth. We are commanded to respect God's world and treat it well.

A lovely custom that began about 400 years ago is the Tu bishvat Seder. You can find a beautiful Seder service HERE from ARZA. And yes it includes the requisite four cups of wine (grape juice for the younger set.)

Meanwhile this holiday reminded me of one of my favorite books from my childhood,  The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.  It was a call to respect the environment. Here is the actual TV show from 1972...

They have just made The Lorax into a full length movie due out this summer.

As a special note ...the only nation to end the 20th century with more trees than it began with is Israel....You can plant a tree in Israel  HERE. Jewish families tend to plant trees to celebrate life's milestones: births, bar/bat mitzvahs, graduations and in memorium, especially in memorium. When you lose someone you love it is nice to give back life. .There is something special in Judaism about the environment. It's also why a new terrorist tactic is to set fire to the forests in Israel.

Persian-Fallow deer in a forest in Israel. On an interesting note, until the 1950s this biblical form of deer was thought extinct.

Until next time,

Chag sameach (happy holiday),