Tu Bishvat in Hebron

The New Year for the Trees has a rich history in Hebron.

5.2.23, 16:11
The Jewish community of Hebron has a rich tradition of celebrating the holiday of Tu Bishvat – the 15th of the month of Shvat - also know as the New Year of the Trees.

David Avisar (1887 - 1963) the Hebron-born historian and poet wrote some of his childhood memories about Tu Bishvat in the City of the Patriarchs & Matriarchs in Sefer Hevron.

“On the evening of the 15th of the month of Shvat, everything was ready and set for the party: summer fruits and winter fruits - the seven species mentioned in the Bible of which were praised: wheat and roasted barley, a cluster of grapes which graced the Sukkah (father kept them in the basement) and if there are no grapes, raisins are served… a pomegranate that lasted from the holiday, pickled olives and honeycomb. Besides these, other foods decorated the table: carobs from the Carmel mountains and dates from Jericho, almonds from the Sharon and peanuts from Hebron, roasted seeds and salted legumes, oranges and mandarins from the lowlands. The sweetened and candied etrog jam was also added to them.

Father waved the wheat and said to the firstborn: "Recite the verse, which is blessing.” -- "A land of wheat and barley, a vine, a fig and a pomegranate, a land of olive oil and honey." - Deuteronomy 8:08

And he added, “a land flowing with milk and honey.” We recited the blessing and ate. The ancestors were thus honored for many years.”

Avisar continues to describe a festive meal in which neighbors and relatives from afar were invited and children played games and sang. One of the songs recited at the Tu Bishvat meal was Yavo Dodi, written by the famed Rabbi Israel Najara (1555 – 1625) one of the mystics of Tzfat who briefly lived in Hebron.

Today, Tu Bishvat is celebrated in Hebron with special kabbalistic Tu Bishvat seders in the evening. During the day, schools hold special programs for children who plant flowers and seedlings for the coming spring and help to beautify the city.
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