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Chicago Parents: Celebrate Tu Bishvat with Fun Events, Activities, and Easy Ways to Go Green

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Tu Bishvat, the Jewish holiday celebrating a new year for the trees, traditionally marks the beginning of spring in Israel. While this can be a hard concept to wrap your head around in the middle of a cold and icy Chicago winter, Tu Bishvat is also an excellent time to talk about protecting the environment–which is never a bad thing.

We’ve rounded up a list of ways to celebrate Tu Bishvat at events near you, and in local indoor green spaces. Since Tu Bishvat falls in January this year, we also included three easy ways to go green—another item you can tack on to your list of New Year’s resolutions for 2016.

Tu Bishvat begins at sundown on Sunday, January 24 and continues until sundown on Monday, January 25.

Tu Bishvat Events Near You

Young Families Tu Bishvat Seder
Enjoy pizza, planting, and other activities to celebrate trees and Israel. For families with children in 1st grade and younger.
Anshe Emet Synagogue, 3751 N. Broadway, Chicago
Sunday, January 24, 12:15 – 2 p.m.

A New Year for Trees: Tu Bishvat Story Time
Learn about Tu Bishvat with stories and songs, and bring home tips for celebrating the holiday at home. Hosted by Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation.
Deerfield Barnes & Noble, 728 North Waukeegan Rd, Deerfield
Sunday, January 24, 2:30 – 3 p.m.

Tu Bishvat Community Celebration
Arts and crafts, tree planting, live entertainment, games, and prizes–a little something for everyone. RSVP requested.
Rochelle Zell Jewish High School, 1095 Lake Cook Rd, Deerfield
Sunday, January 24, 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

PJ Rocks Tu Bishvat
Celebrate the Jewish New Year for the trees with planting and gardening-themed crafts, music by Ellen Allard, a photo booth, and snacks.
Little Beans Café, 430 Asbury Ave, Evanston
Sunday, January 24, 3 – 5 p.m.

Shabbat in the Forest
Celebrate Shabbat and Tu Bishvat with family and friends in the B’Yachad Family Shabbat service. For children in 1st grade and younger and their families.
North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, 1175 Sheridan Road, Highland Park
Saturday, January 30, 10:45 a.m. – Noon

Green Places to Visit During the Winter

Can’t look at slush for another minute? Visit any of these indoor green spaces for a little taste of summertime.

Morton Arboretum
Grab your conductor’s hat because the 14th annual Enchanted Railroad event debuts on January 15 with two levels of railroad fun, including a new LEGO train car and oodles of model trains.
Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle
January 15 – February 21, Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Weekends 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Story Time @ Chicago Botanical Gardens
Nature-themed stories and activities for kids ages 2 – 5 and their favorite grown-up. After story time, grab a bingo card at the information desk and take a stroll through the garden and the greenhouse. Next thing you know, it will be lunchtime!
Chicago Botanical Gardens Lenhardt Library, 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe
Mondays, January 11 – May 23 (except April 18), 10 – 11 a.m.

Nature Discovery Day
Explore nature classrooms, create a craft project, check out the animals, do a little sledding or cross-country skiing, and then warm up around the campfire. Some activities are weather dependent.
Heller Nature Center, 2821 Ridge Rd, Highland Park
Saturday, February 6, 10 a.m. – Noon

3 Easy Ways to Go Green in 2016

Let’s face it–we all want to do a better job of protecting the environment, but it’s hard to fit yet another thing into the daily or weekly routine when you already have your hands full with raising, feeding, cleaning, and clothing one or more little people. Knowing just how hard it is, we’ve picked three easy ways to make your 2016 a little bit greener.

Eating Green
Eating local foods isn’t just trendy–it also helps reduce your carbon footprint in delicious way. Gotham Greens, based in Brooklyn, NY just opened the world’s largest rooftop in Chicago–a 75,000 square foot hydroponic greenhouse on top of the Method Products factory. Look for their super-local and tasty greens in stores near you.

Shopping Green
Check out Temple Sholom of Chicago’s 2nd annual Indoor Farmer’s Market and buy locally produced goodies and other sustainably made products.
Temple Sholom of Chicago, 3480 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
Sunday, February 28, 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Composting
You like the idea of composting but it seems totally intimidating, right? Did you know that you can have someone pick up your compost and take care of all of the details? All you have to do is collect it, and they do the rest. City dwellers can call upon Farmer John at Healthy Soil Compost, who will bike over and pick up your compost for you. Yes. On a bike. Year-round. Evanston-based Collective Resource is a woman-owned company and picks up compost all over Chicagoland. They even provide the bucket!

Things to Do at Home

Hibernating much? If bundling up and leaving the house just seems like too much, you can whip up a batch of Tu Bishvat Granola or some Tu Bishvat Chocolate Fondue or get all crafty and make a Tu Bishvat Bird Feeder.

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