Tu B’shvat is coming soon, the birthday of the trees, so our class spent time learning about why we celebrate trees, what value do they have, and why celebrate holidays anyway. We also talked about why we have a few new year celebrations, Rosh Hashanah (the new year for the world, Passover (the religious new year since it is when the Jewish people began their journey to get the Torah), and now the birthday of the trees.
As part of the celebration of the holiday, we typically plant trees in Israel but also celebrate a seder (a short meal with some special prayers). The seder centers around 7 species of fruits and grains mentioned in the Torah that are common to Israel. See if your student can name any of them!! If not, we will repeat the list next Sunday and you can try again!!
Trees have symbolic value as an example of strength. The branches can be compared to the family branches. So we began reading The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and looking at why it is called the “giving tree” and how the book can be seen as providing insight into who is the strength in the family, who gives and who receives in a family relationship, and when and how the balance of giving and taking should occur. We have only read about a third of the book, so stay tuned.
As we read the book, the students are learning how to analyze literature by picking up on whether illustrations are black and white or in color, what is shown in an illustration or changed from illustration to illustration, and why certain words are used and not others. Asking why and delving below the surface is how the Torah is studied and it is how we are studying in our classroom.
We continue to practice the v’ahavta and v’shamru. The students will be leading the v’ahavta at our community Friday Shabbat service and dinner on March 9. The event starts at 6:00 and is located at The Women’s Club in Newton Highlands - 72 Columbus St. Newton. I hope to be able to celebrate and enjoy some relaxed time with all of you that evening.