Explain to the teens that in honor of the upcoming Tu b’Shevat holiday they will be learning about the spiritual connection of the native fruits of Israel and their health properties; they will also prepare a small Tu b’Shevat celebration for the elderly in a Jewish care facility during their regular meal time (optional).
This program includes four components. Click on each one or scroll down to read them all.
- Learning and Discussion on the Seven Species
- Tu B’Shvat Platter Preparation
- Presentation to Seniors
- Additional Program Options
Begin the program with learning and discussion on the seven species of the Land of Israel, in the context of Tu b’Shevat. Canfei Nesharim has prepared a sample source sheet for this purpose, based on the article “Parshat Eikev: The Seven Fruits of Israel” by Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum.
After reviewing the seven species of Israel, explore some questions for discussion, such as:
- How are the seven species of Israel central to Jewish spirituality?
- How does eating consciously elevate us spiritually?
- How does eating the seven species promote health and well-being?
- How does eating the seven species connect us to and strengthen our relationship with the land of Israel?
- How does it deepen our relationship with Hashem?
- What lessons can we learn from each of the seven species?
- What environmental message can we learn from studying about the seven species?
- How do we rely on the earth?
- What can we do to protect this earth?
The teens (or instructors) decide what they want to put on their Tu b’Shevat platters and how they would like to present them to the seniors.
- Reusable containers or platters (from the synagogue or that someone in the group owns or perhaps purchase from your local dollar store to reuse or donate to the needy after the program)
- Compostable platter or plates
- You can also provide biodegradable cutlery and/or serving pieces
The teens prepare food platters to be placed on the center of the tables at lunchtime at the Jewish senior care facility.
The seven species of Israel (Shiva’at Ha’minim):
1. Wheat – Chita
2. Barley – Se’orah
3. Grapes – Anavim
4. Fig – Te’enah
5. Pomegranates – Rimmonim
6. Olive – Zayit
7. Honey – D’vash
Teens may want to include different olives to sample, bunches of different color grapes, raisins, grape juice, wine, sparkling grape juice, baked goods made from wheat and barley flours, dried or fresh figs and dates or baked goods containing these fruits, cut up pomegranates, pomegranate juice, a plate of olive oil and bread to dip.
If possible, choose organic fruits to include in the platters. Perhaps the teens can make a special outing to a local health food store to purchase organic produce.
Bake or cook items to include for platter using ingredients of the seven species of Israel or traditional Tu B’Shvat foods. We’ve found some good recipes from the web that can be a starting point. In addition, there are many Tu B’Shvat recipes in The Jewish Vegetarian Year Cookbook and a few in Spice and Spirit: The Complete Kosher Jewish Cookbook. Other recipes can be obtained online by typing in the keywords: Tu B’Shvat and recipes.
One (or more) teens introduce the celebration and summarizes what he or she learned from the earlier discussion about Tu B’Shvat and the fruits for the seniors.
Adopt a “Bubbie or Zaidy” for the morning or afternoon and spend time with him or her. One topic of conversation could be how the environment and/or environmental issues have changed since they were a teen. Another could be how they spent Tu B’Shvat or other Jewish holidays as a teen.
Give a special Tu B’Shvat gift to the “adopted Bubbie or Zaidy” or the Jewish care facility as a whole such as a decorated reusable recycled or organic canvas tote bag reusable tote bag filled with Tu B’Shvat treats.
*Tote bags can be found at Ecobags or your local crafts store).
*The teens themselves can decorate the bags or can work with younger children or special needs children / teens to decorate the bags.
Thanks to Stephanie Frumkin for preparing this program for Canfei Nesharim.