With political polarization, stormy weather, earthquakes, deaths from car rammings, and threats of terror from the streets of Jerusalem to Israeli rescue teams in Turkey, some weeks are harder than others to find the positive moments.
However, Tu BiShvat is a time of renewal, in nature we saw the blossoms of the almond trees and colorful flowers early this year.
The Knesset’s birthday is celebrated on Tu Bishvat. Remember in January 2016, the Knesset held a major celebration with an open house?
And Keren Kayemet/JNF gave away plants and herbs to everyone,
and there was a service in the Knesset Synagogue and much more.
No big Tu Bishvat open houses at the Knesset this year.
However, I did see people actually working in the future Knesset Museum.
This old photo from the original Knesset Building in 2016 shows little progress after so many years to develop it as a Knesset Museum.
Meanwhile, on Tu Bishvat i24 News got a look into the Knesset’s storeroom, which houses the gifts presented by foreign dignitaries to Israeli leaders.
The Rivlins hosted a Tu Bishvat seder for agricultural growers at Beit Hanasi in 2017. Then as President, Reuven Rivlin hosted various other events for Tu Bishvat in the following years.
The Herzogs did not host a Tu Bishvat event.
A favorite celebration was the Malida at the Bible Lands Museum for Tu Bishvat in January 2020. Just before the world shut down we learned of the fascinating customs and beautiful Tu Bishvat customs from India.
But new this year in time for Tu Bishvat, with dried fruits for the centerpieces, was a major (to be annual) event for OU Israel at the Psagot Winery.
Whenever I got invited to Psagot I make an effort to attend, not only are the wine and food good, but the view I try and update, remembering when those hills were barren and the Winery was alone in the area.
Jerusalem’s Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan Nahoum was called to give a Tu Bishvat message at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center before the panel discussion on Judaism and Zionism.
And to conclude with one more unique invitation I received this year:
We pray for a refuah shleima of Rafael Moshe Tzvi Hirsh ben Shayna Chavah and all the sick and injured in Jerusalem, and around the world.
At this Tu Bishvat Seder along with the dried fruit and wine and juices were hamentashen, the first of the Purim treats I have seen served this year.
So with earthquakes, protests, terror attacks, and threats, the seasons roll around again, as the sun rises and a new week begins.
In spite of some of the Tu Bishvat events of previous years not happening, this year was so eventful that I never shared one of my favorite images for this time of year. This is an original mural in the Jerusalem Cinema City that I made as a Shabbat Shalom poster years ago.
Much more is happening this week ahead on the Jerusalem streets, with the February international conferences returning.