Sarah Aroeste, a Ladino children’s books writer and musician, has a delightful and colorful video in honor of Tu Bishvat, the Jewish New Year of the Trees. This original tune has a joyful message, something we particularly need this year.
“Thank You for the Trees,” Aroeste’s song from her 2017 album Endjuntos/Together, mixes Ladino — or Judeo-Spanish, the language spoken by Jews of Spanish origin who settled in areas like Greece, Egypt, and Turkey after their expulsion from Spain — and English. It’s an ode to nature and all that grows on trees. As she wishes “Happy New Year to trees,” Aroeste thanks them for all they give us, from the beautiful flowers that grow on them, to the bees they attract, to the delicious fruit they give us.
But this lovely song isn’t just an opportunity to revel in all that nature gives us — it’s also a fun opportunity to learn some Ladino! The song relies on a beautiful old Ladino proverb, passed down through generations: “Se kazan los árvoles i empesan a salir las primeras flores,” which means, “The trees marry and then the first flowers start to appear.”
The darling video, full of sweet visuals of a little girl in nature, trees growing, and fruits and flowers, joyfully packages it all together. It’s such a great way to celebrate this perhaps lesser-known but very beautiful Jewish holiday as a family — and learn a little something new on the way.
Happy Tu Bisvhat!