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The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


Tu Tu Tu B’ Shvat Traditions


Slider photo courtesy of Jane Martin.

Tu B’ Shvat, also known as Rosh Hashana La’Ilanot (ראש השנה לאילנות), is the holiday of the trees. Jewish people all over the world have different traditions to commemorate this special day. The holiday gets its name because it correlates with the date it is celebrated each year: ‘Shvat’ is the name of the month, and ‘Tu’ (meaning 15) represents the day. Therefore, Tu B’ Shvat is celebrated on the 15th of Shvat. In Israel, it is celebrated as an environmental awareness day where trees are planted throughout the country. At Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy (HBHA), each grade learns about the holiday and the significance of nature, and each grade has a unique way of celebrating. 

The Kindergarteners were super excited to celebrate their first Tu B’ Shvat at HBHA! Photo courtesy of Jane Martin.

In Kindergarten, the students and teachers prepare by learning about the importance of the date it falls on, and how Tu B’ Shvat is the Rosh Hashanah for the trees. Chanie Sosover, Kindergarten matmidim teacher, shares that students discussed “why [Tu B’ Shvat] matters to us as people, and how much we benefit from the world and the trees.” They also learned songs about the holiday and explored the shivat haminim (seven species), and they created “a cute play about the seven different kinds Israel is blessed with” says Sosover. On Tu B’ Shvat, the class enjoyed a model seder, where they made the appropriate brachot (blessings) on a variety of different foods, including the shivat haminim, as well as “sing[ing] songs together that are connected to Tu B’ Shvat.

First graders also prepared for Tu B’ Shvat. In class, they “decorated plates with the seven species for [their] seder” says Civia White, first grade Jewish Studies teacher. They also created a class tree, which included all of the students’ thumbprints. On the actual seder day, first graders planted parsley that they will later use as a part of their model Passover seder in the spring. Finally, in honor of their Hag Siddur program, the students are collecting money to plant a tree in Israel. 

In the second-grade Jewish studies classes, students had a lot of fun learning about the importance of the holiday. Michal Luger, second grade Jewish Studies teacher, says that to prepare for Tu B’Shvat, second graders “learn[ed] songs [and] read stories connected to the holiday.” They celebrated by eating the seven fruits of Israel and did some fun projects connected to the holiday and the trees. 

Students spent a lot of class time learning about Tu B’ Shvat in the third grade classroom. They participated in creating a “Tree Research Project” and composed a “tree book,” says Leah Nash, lower school Hebrew and Jewish Studies teacher.

“Third graders also enjoyed a ‘yummy Tu B’ Shvat Celebration.’” Photo courtesy of Jane Martin.

Fourth-grade students had a blast during their Tu B’Shevat seders where “they learn[ed] and read all about the seven species, while [they] ate and sang in-between” says Zvia Zadock, fourth grade Jewish Studies teacher. In the weeks leading up to the holiday, fourth graders enjoyed some educational Tu B’Shvat activities. 

Fifth graders also enjoyed learning about the holiday throughout the past month, learning about the trees and importance of nature. Students were excited to have a delicious seder and enjoy the beauty of nature. 

In the middle and upper school, students look forward to the Tu B’Shvat Seder every year. In preparation, weeks before the holiday in their Hebrew classes, HBHA students talked all about Tu B’ Shvat, while learning traditional songs that go along with the holiday. 

From Kindergarten all the way to seniors, the Tu B’ Shvat traditions never stop. Photo by Abbie Davis.

The entire HBHA community had so much fun celebrating Tu B’ Shvat and commemorating the trees. We can never be TU grateful for the beauty of nature.

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