Tu B’shvat

0215tubshvattreeskiddishWalking along the beach at sunset in beautiful Southern California provides the opportunity for us to appreciate where we live. Taking in the magnificent splendor of the colors as they slowly fade into darkness, eventually blending into the night sky, reminds us that the day, like everything, must come to its end. The sun is replaced by the moon and the stars and the heat of the day is followed by the cooler night air. Yet we all know that tomorrow the sun will rise again and bring another beautiful day to our world.

This month we celebrate Tu B’shvat – the birthday of the trees. We pay tribute to nature, our environment and the beautiful world in which we live. We enjoy the “fruits of the earth,” including wine or grape juice,  during Tu B’shvat seder.

This celebration would not be possible if we didn’t pay attention to the world we live in. We are the stewards of the environment. It is up to us to maintain our beautiful world for the generations still to come. We should be the ones to clean up the trash on the beaches, to watch our water usage in times of drought and to take a stand against pollution. It’s up to us to ensure that our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will know the pleasure of a sunset walk on a Californian beach. As our grape juice turns pink when we blend the two colors together at the Tu B’shvat seder, let’s make a pact to leave this beautiful Earth and its abundant gifts accessible to future generations.  _

Sue Penn is the mother of three, Director of Congregational Learning at University Synagogue, president of Jewish Reconstructionist Educators of North America and a member of the Jewish Educators Assembly.

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