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Jan 16 2014

The Best Kid-Friendly Crafts for Tu Bishvat

By at 1:15 pm

Happy Tu Bishvat, the Jewish birthday of trees! This is a great holiday for making kids aware of the earth and all its bountiful beauty. If you’ve got some free time with the kids today, we rounded up a few craft projects you can do to get them in the “tree state of mind.”

1. Have a forest fiesta! Break out the paper, glue, buttons, and paint and create a forest with your kids. These two projects will leave you with a pretty play dough garden, and a landscape of paper trees. (Mum Paints Lives)

TREES

2. Make some cardboard leaves with stencils and paints! Get crazy and do some finger painting–there are many techniques you can use with this one. (Creative Jewish Mom) Read the rest of this entry →

A Lesson from The Lorax on Tu Bishvat

By at 9:39 am

hebrew-lorax

Deep in the Grickle-grass, some people say, if you look deep enough you can still see, today, where the Lorax once stood just as long as it could before somebody lifted the Lorax away.

One page into Dr. Seuss’s timeless classic and Jewish symbolism is abundant. The presumed gravesite of the Lorax, protector (creator?) of the trees, is surrounded by stones. In the animated movie adapted from the book, the Lorax and forest creatures bring stones to surround tree stumps after they have been cut in vain. Similarly, in Jewish tradition, small stones are placed at grave sites and when we bring these tangible stones and roll them around in our fingers, we can still feel our loved one; we can still feel the impact that has been made on this life.

The Lorax is often mentioned when we talk about Tu Bishvat, the New Year of the Trees, the Jewish holiday associated with environmental conservation. In Genesis, Adam is placed in the Garden of Eden to “keep it and watch over it.” And the value of bal tashchit, “do not destroy,” has become the Jewish earth day anthem. The book absolutely teaches us that trees are sacred, but if we look deeper there is so much more. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 15 2014

Happy Birthday to My Daughter Who’s Nothing Like Me

By at 12:48 pm

alina

My daughter will turn 7 on Thursday (not to be confused with The Sound of Music’s Marta, who will turn 7 on Tuesday; though my daughter would probably like a pink parasol, too).

She was born on Martin Luther King Day weekend, the offspring of a Soviet Jewish mother and an African-American father, the younger sister to two brothers, and named after both a man of peace and a God of war. You could say that, from the beginning, we embraced the contradictions.

This year, her birthday also falls on Tu Bishvat.

“Is that like a Thanksgivukkah thing that won’t happen again for another 70,000 years?” my husband wanted to know.

“Uh…sure,” I said. Because, frankly, I have no idea. (Anyone out there capable of doing the math for me?) Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 14 2014

How to Use Tu Bishvat to Help Your Kids Stop Wasting Food

By at 11:57 am

how to teach kids to stop wasting food

You’ll never hear me tell my kids to join the “clean plate club.” My father used to always push back when my grandparents told me to clean my plate. Somewhere in between their depression-mentality and his realization that giving your kid a stomachache and making them overeat really didn’t accomplish anything lies that reasonable parental desire to help curb our kids’ seemingly innate tendency to waste food.

Whether you’re that parent that really won’t let your kid eat anything else except what is served for dinner, or you’re that parent who gives in and let’s them have a bowl of cereal, or, heaven forbid, the one who becomes a short-order cook, most of us cringe when our kids waste the food they’re served or serve themselves.

How convenient then that we can use Tu Bishvat, the Jewish “Birthday of the Trees,” as an opportunity to reduce their wastefulness (Tu Bishvat is from sundown on Wednesday to sundown on Thursday). Kids really get a kick out of this birthday concept and want to learn more. If the trees are so special that they deserve their own holiday, we should have respect for the food that comes off of them and be sure to use it respectfully.

Have you ever become frustrated at how much your kids waste or wondered if it really is as much as you think it is? Here’s what you can do at home: Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 25 2013

It’s Tu Bishvat Time

By at 11:37 am

Hello, Kveller folks. Just a friendly reminder that Tu Bishvat, the Birthday of the Trees, starts tonight at sundown. If you need some last minute ideas for food, crafts, and activities, we’ve got you covered.

To Eat

fig and goat cheese sandwichA common way to celebrate Tu Bishvat is to eat foods that contain the seven species from the Bible: figs, dates, pomegranates, olives, grapes, wheat and barley. That means you could make stuffed dates or fig and goat cheese sandwiches. Or you could make this fruity dinner for Tu Bishvat featuring orange and maple baked tofu and persimmon and pistachio cupcakes.

To keep up with the fruit theme, this orange salad is light and refreshing. And what better way to eat fruit then dipped in chocolate? Here comes in the chocolate fondue with fruit. Lastly, a little adult fun can be had with some homemade sangria using any of your favorite fruits. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 24 2013

Why I Won’t Be Reading the Giving Tree on Tu Bishvat

By at 4:05 pm

the giving tree shel silverstein tu bishvatTwo months prior to my birth, according to the date on the inside cover in my mother’s handwriting, my parents received a copy of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree. A gift that, based on an unscientific survey of people in my demographic, was a very popular birth gift in the late 1960s/early 1970s.

When I was growing up, Tu Bishvat included an annual reading of The Giving Tree. It was a tradition that I dreaded. A rather unpopular reaction at the time and one that I learned to keep to myself. After all, it takes a certain kind of crazy to publicly decry a beloved children’s book. Although I wasn’t yet able to articulate it, there was something about the relationship between the boy and the tree that greatly troubled me. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 23 2013

On Tu Bishvat & Grieving for My Dad

By at 9:36 am

Tu Bishvat begins this Friday. For some, this holiday will only register because a child enrolled in Hebrew school (or Jewish Day School) will come home with a sandwich bag full of dried fruits and nuts or with a story about the Tu Bishvat Seder she participated in at school.

But for most of us, this admittedly minor Jewish holiday will pass without much (any?) fanfare. The concept is great: a New Year for the trees. The winter rains in Israel are on their way out; its time to welcome spring, to honor the earth in all of its life-sustaining glory, to get our fingernails dirty and plant something. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 14 2013

PJ Library Corner: A Tree is Nice, Indeed

By at 5:03 pm

a tree is nice children's picture book

In case you didn’t know, there’s a minor Jewish holiday coming up on January 25th called Tu Bishvat, and it’s all about trees.

Oftentimes referred to as the “New Year for Trees” or the “Birthday of the Trees,” Tu Bishvat comes as the trees in Israel just start to blossom (we know, we know, there’s still snow on the ground in many places right now, including Israel, but an early springtime celebration never hurts).

Anyways, back to the trees: many families celebrate Tu Bishvat by planting trees and celebrating all that they have to offer. This month, PJ Library, an organization that sends out free Jewish books to families each month, offered up a true gem, just in time for Tu Bishvat: A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry, illustrated by Marc Simont. Originally published in 1956 and winner of the Caldecott Medal, this charming picture book is a throwback to a simpler time, and a reminder to soak in the wonder of nature all around us. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 8 2012

Fun Stuff to Do on Tu Bishvat

By at 10:34 am

Tree of LifeSo you’re looking for a way to celebrate Tu Bishvat with your kids? Don’t feel like just drawing a tree on paper and sticking it up on the wall? Well, you’re in luck. We’ve done some research and found some of the best Tu Bishvat crafts out there. Read on…

1. Here at Kveller, we have some fun tree-based crafts. If you haven’t seen this amazing Tree of Life wall hanging that’s made out of recycled toilet paper rolls, check it out above. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 7 2012

Pop Quiz: Tu Bishvat

By at 9:56 am

big treeIt’s Tu Bishvat time! Do you know what to do, eat, drink and feel on this Jewish holiday? It starts at sundown tonight, so use this time to brush up on your Tu Bishvat street smarts, take the quiz, and let us know how you do.

Take the QUIZ now!

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