Ideas For Tu B'shvat - "

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Resource Type: Peula in: English
Age: 8-12
Group Size: 10-30
Estimated Time: 60 minutes

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Resource Goal
  • To educate, refresh, remind participants about Tu BShvat, what it means etc.
  • Learning about the importance of tree planting, and the types of fruit that are indigenous to Israel. The seasons from the agricultural perspective in Israel
  • Trees in the Tu BShvat seder- preparations for roles in the Seder

Required Props & Materials

To prepare before:

  • Rebus board, with covers
  • Questions
  • Stories
  • Small pots
  • Soil
  • Seeds- of fruits and trees from Israel

Resource Contents

Ideas for Tu BShvat Program

Time frame: 40-60 minutes, during the week (not on Shabbat)

Basic outline: The purpose of this program is to introduce various elements of Tu BShvat to the various grades. The program is two-fold- grade specific, and then the entire group coming together for a Tu BShvat seder. After learning about the history of Tu BShvat, and more specifically the subject of Tu Bshvat, fruits of Israel and Gan Eden, the idea is that it can be celebrated together, as a community.

* If necessary, the program can be shorten, and consist only of the Tu BShvat seder.

Tu BShvat as the New Year for the trees

Goal:

  • To educate, refresh, remind participants about Tu BShvat, what it means etc.
  • Learning about the importance of tree planting, and the types of fruit that are indigenous to Israel. The seasons from the agricultural perspective in Israel
  • Trees in the Tu BShvat seder- preparations for roles in the Seder

Method:

  • Introduction
  • Rebus
  • Stories about the different types of trees and fruit, learning their names in Hebrew, and possibly songs about them
  • Tree planting

To prepare before:

  • Rebus board, with covers
  • Questions
  • Stories
  • Small pots
  • Soil
  • Seeds- of fruits and trees from Israel

The program begins with a short game/ice-breaker. Each room will have about 30-36 kids. An example of the quick type of game that could be played- have them all sit in a circle, with one person in the middle. That person makes a statement like switch if youre wearing a blue sweater and all those wearing a blue sweater have to get up and switch places. Only do a couple of rounds, and the person leading the activity should do the last one, somehow relating it to Israel- have you ever been to Israel? and then more specifically Tu BShvatish- Have you ever eaten one the 7 minim?

Once everyone is seated, give more of an introduction as to who you are, why youre here, what the date is etc. Today is special because its Tu BShvat- the 15th day of the month of Shvat. For 2,000 years, this day has been celebrated. To learn more about it, were going to play a game. Divide them into 2 groups- and bring the rebus board in. The way it works is that each team gets a turn to pick a square, which corresponds to a question. If they answer the question correctly, they win the right to reveal a square on the board, and to guess the quote. The questions should relate to the Jewish calendar, Israel etc. The winning team wins a prize!

The quote for the rebus will have something to do with the fruits and trees of Eretz Yisrael. Then talk about the Tu BShvat seder- what it means, why we do it etc. The only other time during the year that there is a seder is on Pesach. And that celebrates one of the most momentous events in the history of the Jewish people. Why does Tu Bshvat merit its own seder?

Ask the kids to close their eyes, and picture Gan Eden, as they envision it. Paradise. Then ask a few to say what they see. More than likely, they will all talk about trees, flowers, streams etc. And rightfully so- when described in Breishit, the main focus of the description of Gan Eden are the natural elements. One of the first mitzvoth we are given is to eat from the fruit of the trees (also, not to eat from certain trees). Again and again throughout the Tanach, the motif of the trees and nature and fruits keeps coming back- Moshe and the burning bush (Hashem using the bush to transmit His message), etc. See if the kids can come up with other examples.

Lets think of a world WITHOUT trees. You cant. We depend on them for shade, oxygen, material, homes for animals. Look at the Tanach- trees establish residency in a place. When Noach got off the Ark, he planted stuff. When Bnei Yisrael go into Eretz Yisrael- they have to start planting and working the Land, really investing in it to make it their own. And when we were exiled- the Land died, and only with the return of Am Yisrael recently, has the Land starting being alive again.

But ultimately, when you plant a seed in the ground- theres only so much you can do to make the tree grow. But Hashem has made our duty in life to nurture and work the Land. Why? Because when you really work hard and stress about something and sweat and get dirty, you really want it to grow and see results from your work. But once the seed is in the ground, we depend on the rain and on miracles to make the plant grow well. And who controls the rain? Yup, Hashem. So by planting stuff, were actually bringing ourselves closer to Hashem. He has given us laws about planting etc, to make sure that we are very careful with His planet. And we need to daven, and like it says in the Shema, follow the mitzvoth so that we will get rain and have successful crops.

So really, there is no better chag than Tu Bshvat to show us how connected we need to be to be both part of Torah and Avodah. And as history has shown, the best place to combine the two is in Israel.

Tell stories of the planting of trees in the first kibbutzim, and Rav Kook planting a tree with his hands. Now its their turn to plant something in Israel. Only, since they arent in Israel- what they can do is plant something in pots here, and then write letters to a sister school (or Bnei Akiva snif) in Israel, who is actually going tree-planting, and wish them a chag sameach.

Important details to emphasize (in that sneaky way us informal educators do) during the activity:

  • Tu BShvat is not just an opportunity to have a birthday party for the trees- its about a deeper understanding of the role nature plays in our lives and in Judaism.
  • The builders of the modern State of Israel knew that the success was dependant on having an agriculturally successful economy. It is because of those who physically worked the land that it was successful.
  • The Torah does not mention Tu BShvat, but it plays an important role in Halacha of the tree calendar, and in Kabbalah.


Resource Comments

Basic outline: The purpose of this program is to introduce various elements of Tu BShvat to the various grades. The program is two-fold- grade specific, and then the entire group coming together for a Tu BShvat seder. After learning about the history of Tu BShvat, and more specifically the subject of Tu Bshvat, fruits of Israel and Gan Eden, the idea is that it can be celebrated together, as a community.

* If necessary, the program can be shorten, and consist only of the Tu BShvat seder.



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