Ideas, Links & Lessons for Tu B’Shevat

Written by Behrman House Staff, 10 of January, 2012

Links and Lessons for Tu B’shevat

There is something uplifting about giving trees center stage at this time of year, when many places in the U.S. are moving solidly into winter. Here are some resources for taking a look at the new year for trees from a variety of perspectives.

With the compliments of Hebrew Wizards, a Tu B'Shevat Board provides a quick overview of the holiday. Also included: a teacher's guide and game questions

Help younger children understand and celebrate the importance of trees in Judaism.

Jewish and Me Spring Holidays is the perfect resource to introduce your pre-school students to the many uses of trees and its symbolism in Judaism.

Need a new Tu B’Shevat story? Try “Why Trees Don’t Talk,” one of the eight stories from It's Too Crowded in Here. A young girl discovers the value of action over words in the quiet wonder of the trees in her village.

“I think that I shall never see/ A poem as lovely as a tree” (Joyce Kilmer). Help your students discover the poets inside themselves. Stage a poetry slam in class. Use these poems and quotes to help inspire students to create their own odes to trees.

Here is a Tu B’Shevat word puzzle for your students to complete.

You can also show these pictures of wacky trees from around the world.

Help older students discover some of the more nuanced themes of Tu B’Shevat and develop a connection between the biblical holiday and modern concerns about the environment.

Your students can explore the practical side of the biblical origins of Tu B’shevat—assessing the age of trees to protect them from premature harvesting and assure proper tithing to the temple—and learn its link to the concept of bal tashhit (do not destroy or waste) with Rediscovering the Jewish Holidays.

Have your students watch this video to learn what they can do to help the trees and the environment of the future.

Create an Israel connection for Tu B’Shevat.

Make a connection to Israel for Tu B’Shevat using Experience Modern Israel. There is an entire chapter (and online connection) about the environment and connections to primary sources are woven throughout the text. Use the Google Earth feature to visit a kibbutz.

You can also watch this slideshow of a Biblical Landscape Reserve in Israel (between Jersualem and Tel Aviv).

Provide a family connection.

Use this beautiful resource to host a Tu B’Shevat seder for families (or send home for them to do together).

You might also buy some parsley seeds to send home for families to plant. Encourage families to plant the parsley seeds and watch them grow. They will be ready for pickimg in time for the Passover seder.