Warm weather and rain,
and more cold rain today,
have been good for turning dry land green,
and early blooming of almond trees.
Getting ready for ט”ו בשבט on Wednesday.
Tu Bishvat is coming,
but first Shabbat shalom.
the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat,
is often called the “New Year of Trees,”
and marks the beginning of spring in Israel
and the birthday of the Knesset.
Growing up in the United States,
I remember receiving dried, hard, brown carob pods
called buxor to chew on, or rather to try and chew.
How different is Tu B’Shevat celebrated in Jerusalem!
Thousands of carob pods fall to the ground untouched.
Stores are filled with many varieties of dried fruit.
Every year I have tried a different spelling of Tu B’Shevat,
so I know language translations are not simple,
but “Dried Plums without a nucleus”?
In honor of Tu B’Shevat,
along with almond trees bursting into bloom,
let us see a bit of what is new for this year.
President Reuven and Nechama Rivlin hosted
a Tu B’Shevat seder for agricultural growers
and representatives of OneFamily.
Orphans who had lost both parents to terror participated with
red and white wines, wheat, figs, pomegranate, almonds
and more, and in the blessings, readings and song.
But that was a small and private gathering,
as for the real streets,
Liberty Bell Park, foliage has been cut back.
This old sculpture was painted bright yellow,
but I hope they used better quality paint than this blue.
The new walking trails along the old train tracks
will be filled with pedestrians and bikers.
New neighborhood gardens are being planted,
similar to this new community garden in Baka.
Long awaited, this improved play ground
is appreciated for its play and climbing features,
and also for its accessibility features,
such as this swing.
A new and important addition are these shade covers
and the fitness equipment.
It took months,
but this improved park will be busy soon.
For years, Gan Sacher, Sacher Park,
was the main green space,
then Gazelle Park opening two years ago.
Gan Haatzmaut, Independence Park
has seen its share of picnics and protesters.
Teddy Park became one of the most popular for its fountain,
but for photographers there is always a new angle.
Near by in Yemin Moshe,
old olive trees were in dire need of re-potting.
And finally there is a serious effort trying to keep
these wonderful green spaces clean.
There is much more happening, but for now,
Happy Tu B’Shevat from Jerusalem.
It’s raining. It’s pouring.
It was so windy I refused to go outside.
Jerusalem, Israel, was bone chilling cold.
The eastern US coast was buried under mountains of snow.
But it was Tu B’Shevat, the New Year for Trees,
in spite of the winter weather today.
Scenes from last week,
seem much more appropriate for this holiday, than grey fog.
The flowers in pots were overflowing,
outside of Beit Hanasi, Israeli President’s House,
for all to see.
Inside, the row of former Israeli Presidents greets visitors,
and the resident cat was enjoying the sun.
This cat is there all the time,
but most people do not get to enjoy the gardens.
Therefore, in honor of Tu B’Shevat, the New Year of Trees,
I took special photos to share the landscape with you.
Trees line the left front walk way inside,
while flowers are on the right side of the entrance.
Tu B’Shevat is about the new season of fruit trees.
Olive trees grow in several places,
the orange trees were bursting with fruit,
as were the kumquats.
Special visitors plant trees, even if it is not Tu B’Shevat,
and one tree came from the White House.
Flower beds were looking good,
now that Shemitta year of no planting has ended,
but one lone rose was all I saw.
First Lady Nechama Rivlin is a proud savta, grandmother,
and for Tu B’Shevat invited school children to Beit Hanasi.
The cat checked out her short presentation,
but did not hang around to help,
as planting in her new community garden began.
Tu B’Shevat is not a time in the synagogue,
but outside planting.
Glad I was there when the sun was shining!
Now we are ready and waiting for snow,
never know what will happen next in Jerusalem.
In case you think I was exaggerating,
this is not snow,
but morning fog on road to Knesset,
ready and still waiting for snow.