How Did Ramaz Celebrate Tu B’shvat?


Every year, Tu B’shvat falls out during midterm season at Ramaz. Though this timing makes it difficult to have school-wide assemblies to commemorate the holiday, there are still many ways to acknowledge Tu B’shvat in school. For example, on January 14, there was a table in the lobby with dried and fresh fruits, and books about Tu B’shvat and Israeli agriculture. But was this enough to celebrate the holiday?

Tu B’shvat, also called “The New Year of Trees,” is commemorated once a year on the 15th of Shvat. Jews observe the holiday across the globe by growing trees, eating fruits, and spreading awareness of environmental issues. It is especially important to acknowledge Tu B’shvat this year as it is the year of Shmita: every seven years, Israel celebrates its soil by not plowing the land for one year. The Ramaz administration did not only set up a table in the lobby to commemorate Tu B’shvat, but some Judaic teachers discussed the importance of Shmita with their classes. Noa Gad ’22 learned about Shmita in Rabbi Weiser’s class and thought that it was very meaningful. Yitzchak Tucker ’23 said that “I liked learning about Shmita in Rabbi Schiwotz’s Talmud class because Shmita helps us relate to the holiday of Tu B’shvat. Shmitah keeps us humble and reminds us that nature is important, and this is the exact lesson we take away from the holiday of Tu B’shvat.”

Additionally, the Environmental Club also helped the school celebrate Tu B’shvat; they used the table set up in the lobby to sell Little suns (solar energy flashlights) and the reusable water bottles that they created last year.

While Ramaz did commemorate Tu B’shvat in these significant ways, was there any more that could have been done? According to Mrs. Haas, Director of Chesed, it is up to the students to decide if Tu B’shvat should be focused on more in school. “If students would like to celebrate Tu B’Shvat on a bigger scale next year, we would love to hear from them!” Though most students and teachers have not spoken about ways to aid in the commemoration of the holiday, there is always something more that can be done. “It never seems like we do very much for Tu B’shvat and it always seems to happen when we’re off from school,” said Ms. Abramson. “This year as in the past, there was a nice offering of nuts and fruits which are gifts from the trees. I think we should be grateful and thank the trees more often. I would love for the school to go out in nature to take a long walk through the park to commemorate the holiday.” 

Daniella Woldenberg ’23 said, “I definitely think more can be done for the holiday. I appreciate the dried fruit in the lobby, but I think it would be beneficial to hear from an expert about recycling, composting, or anything related to the environment. We can also donate money to plant trees.”