The resources below, including the Hazon Tu B’Shvat Haggadah, offer thoughts and ideas for you to celebrate Tu B’Shvat in your home or community. The texts, questions, activities, and suggestions were chosen to help you look at Tu B’Shvat through fresh eyes, and to enable you to hear the tradition speaking to you.
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Hazon Tu B’Shvat Resources
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The Hazon Tu B’Shvat Haggadah is designed to help you think about your responsibility towards the natural world in relation to four different levels: physical place, community, world, and spirituality. Each section of the haggadah will relate to one of these four levels of responsibility, and offers texts, questions, and activities to spark conversation around your seder table. Our haggadah is available in PDF format so you may print as few or as many copies as you need. Download our comprehensive, pluralistic haggadah.
You may also download our Haggadah in booklet form. Be sure to print with your settings set for landscape and double-sided on the short side. This will result in 10 pages which you can fold and staple in the middle. Or you can purchase pre-printed copies of the Haggadah in packs of five.
Download Hazon’s Tu B’Shvat Seder Leader’s Guide. It’s everything you ever wanted to know about hosting a Tu B’Shvat Seder but were afraid to ask! Our guide contains tips for preparation, leading an engaging seder and making it your own.
Download Hazon’s Tu B’Shvat Family Seder for families with school age kids. Complete with games and family friendly language, our abbreviated family seder is perfect for the all ages table.
Music and Songs
We’ve compiled a great selection of music for you to make your seder a more multi-faceted experience. Our Haggadah and Leader’s Guide have suggestions of when to use these songs and we invite you to integrate any or all of these songs in to your seder.
Beyond the Four Worlds
Read Nigel Savage’s piece, “Beyond ‘The Four Worlds’: Creating Meaning in Your Tu B’Shvat Seder”
More Background and Activities
Tu B’Shvat (Hebrew: ט״ו בשבט) is a minor Jewish holiday in the Hebrew month of Shvat, usually sometime in late January or early February, that marks the “New Year of the Trees” (Hebrew:ראש השנה לאילנות, Rosh HaShanah La’Ilanot). Tu B’Shvat is one of four “New Years” mentioned in the Mishnah. Customs include planting trees and eating dried fruits and nuts, especially figs, dates, raisins, carob, and almonds. In Israel, the flowering of the almond tree, which grows wild around the country, coincides with Tu B’shvat.
In the Middle Ages, Tu B’Shvat was celebrated with a feast of fruits in keeping with the Mishnaic description of the holiday as a “New Year.” In the 1600s, the kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed and his disciples instituted a Tu B’Shvat seder in which the fruits and trees of the Land of Israel were given symbolic meaning. The main idea was that eating ten specific fruits and drinking four cups of wine in a specific order while reciting the appropriate blessings would bring human beings, and the world, closer to spiritual perfection.
In Israel, the kabbalistic Tu B’Shvat seder has been revived, and is now celebrated by many Jews, religious and secular. Special haggadot have been written for this purpose.
In modern times, many Jewish organizations, including Hazon, have connected Tu B’Shvat to the issues on sustainability and environmental awareness. This year, we would like to have Tu B’Shvat Shabbat tables across America discussing sustainability and environmental issues. Hazon can help you plan a menu and prepare text for discussion.
G-dcast is an educational media company that makes accessible and entertaining media, including animated shorts, feature-length films and games, that introduce viewers to core Jewish texts. They’ve created a Tu B’Shvat cartoon and free curricula to accompany the video. Visit G-dcast’s home.
Fair Trade Tu B’Shvat Seder
Download our Long Island CSA Fair Trade Tu bshvat Seder, compiled by the Hazon Long Island CSA. This “How-to” guide gives great suggestions on ways to have a Tu B’Shvat Seder which incorporates important topics like food justice. This gives you the tools that you need to host a Tu B’Shvat Seder with a focus on the environmental benefits of fair trade!
Suggestions from Fair Trade Judaica:
- Host a Tu B’Shvat seder focusing on the environmental benefits of fair trade (Download the Long Island Hazon CSA “How-to” guide for a Fair Trade seder)
- Use fair trade certified dried dates, almonds, and walnuts at your Tu B’shvat seder
Check out more Tu B’Shvat resources from our friends at COEJL – The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
My Jewish Learning – Tu B’Shvat 101
More Jew & the Carrot articles concerning Tu B’Shvat:
Celebrate the trees! Tu B’Shvat is often viewed as the New Year of the trees, so take this opportunity to celebrate the nature that surrounds you! For a fun family or community activity, take pictures of trees in the winter and see if you can identify the trees without their leaves. Since Tu B’Shvat can be viewed as a “birthday” of trees, find the age of trees in your yard or neighborhood by using this calculation tool.
Test your environmental impact. Use Tu B’Shvat to test your knowledge on local, environmental issues. Allow Tu B’Shvat to open a door to finding more about your local habitat and ways to be more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Tu B’Shvat Recipes
Pomegranate and Sour Cherry Mandelbrot
Recipe originally from The Jew and the Carrot
Adapted from Marcy Goldman’s “A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking: 10th Anniversary Edition”
Makes 2 dozen
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup sliced toasted almonds
- 3/4 cup dried sour cherries, plumped in warm water, then drained and dried
- 1 egg white, beaten
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, Whisk together the oil, pomegranate molasses, honey, sugar and vanilla. Whisk in the beaten whole eggs. Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, walnut halves and dried cherries.
Spoon out 2 loaves of the dough about 8-by-3- or 4-inches wide. Brush the top with the egg white, then sprinkle with sugar.
Bake until the top of the dough seems firm and dry, about 25 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce heat to 300 degrees.
Carefully slide the mandelbrot off the baking sheet and cut them crosswise into slices 3/4 inch thick. Place a wire cooling rack over the baking sheet, then arrange the mandelbrot slices on it. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until crisp and dry.
If you want to add a festive touch and capture the spirit of the almond tree, in step three consider replacing sugar with a combination of white and pink sprinkles.
Tu B’Shvat Pilaf
Recipe originally from The Jew and the Carrot
- 2/3 cup red quinoa (if you cannot find red, white is fine)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, plumped in hot water and drained
- 1 cup carrots, grated coarsely
- 1 medium sweet onion
- 1 small bunch of cilantro
- 1 small bunch of flat Italian parsley
- 2 tablespoon sesame seeds, roasted
- ½ cup slivered almonds raw
Rinse quinoa then put in pot with water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until all water is absorbed approximately 15 minutes.
Remove quinoa from heat and fluff with fork. Let it cool.
While quinoa is cooking and cooling, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Toast sesame seeds and almonds separately. Grate carrots. Dice onions and mince herbs.
Once all ingredients are ready and the quinoa is cool, mix all but the almonds together in a large bowl.
When ready to serve add almonds and toss.
Silan Date Cake
Recipe originally from The Jew and the Carrot
Serves 2 (9-inch) loaf pans
- 3 cups All-Purpose Wheat Flour
- ½ cups barley flour
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1-teaspoon baking powder
- 1-teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 4 eggs
- ½-cup light olive oil
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1-cup Silan honey
- 1-cup strong brewed coffee
- 1 cup POM (Pomegranate) juice
- 1-teaspoon vanilla extract
- Zest of one lemon
- 1-cup raisins
- ½ cup almonds, slivered
- ¼ cup almonds, slivered for topping
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a medium size bowl, sift together the all purpose flour, barley flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, allspice and clove.
In a separate large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the eggs, gradually adding the Silan honey. Beat until thick and light in color, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the olive oil, vegetable oil, coffee, pomegranate juice, lemon juice, vanilla extract and lemon zest. The batter will be light and fluffy. Stir flour mixture slowly into batter. Fold in raisins and then mix in ½ cup almonds.
Oil the two loaf pans and line bottom with waxed paper. Oil again and fill each pan with batter up to one inch from the top. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes and remove from pan.
Dried Fruit and Nut Cookies
Recipe originally from The Jew and the Carrot
Yield: About 40 cookies
- 1½ cups chopped mixed nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds)
- 1½ cups chopped mixed dried fruit (dates, figs, raisins)
- ¼ cup + 7 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup brown or white sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 eggs
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
Pour into a greased or parchment paper-lined loaf pan* and bake for about 30 minutes, until evenly browned on top.
Remove from the oven and cool fully. Slice into thin slices and serve (or slice and bake for another 5 minutes for crispy cookies).
*Any standard size loaf pan is fine — if it’s a little smaller the cookies will just be slightly thicker and chewier, and if it’s bigger they’ll be crispier. It’s a forgiving recipe.
Serve local, organic wine. The Tu B’Shvat seder emphasizes the use of both red and white wines. Find out ahead of time what your local wine store has in stock—especially if you plan to buy a lot of bottles. If they don’t have anything, ask them to order a case for you. There aren’t many kosher organic wines available, but for options see our list of kosher organic wines. Consider paying a little more at a locally-owned store—sustainable means supporting local businesses, too.
Go Vegetarian! Tu B’Shvat is a great time to celebrate the environment and all of its natural offerings. What a better way to do that by eating vegetarian! For some great winter soup options, check out this great JCarrot article. Here are some creative vegan options.
Eat Local. If you live in an area with a variety of seasonal, winter offerings, use this to your advantage by eating local. In the south, citrus fruits are in season and can provide a great addition to the Tu B’Shvat celebration: try citrus curls in your drinks, lemon curd for desert, or roast chicken with oranges and lemons inside.
For many people in the US, the seven species are not in season locally. If possible, buy organic varieties of the dried versions, and use some of the suggestions below to make your Tu B’Shvat more sustainable.
Wheat and Barley. To feature sustainable grains during your Tu B’Shvat seder, look to your local grain coop. In the New York area, Cayuga Pure Organics offers a wide variety of organic, sustainably grown products. Down south, Great River Milling offers whole wheat, organic flours perfect for baking a Tu B’Shvat challah. If finding a local grain coop isn’t an option, try to buy organic wheat flour or barley from artisanal companies such as Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur Flour.
Figs, Pomegranates, and Dates. For most people in the United States, figs and pomegranates aren’t available locally in the winter. Instead of offering fresh varieties of figs and pomegranates, opt for jam, jellied, or dried forms. If you can get your hands on some fresh figs, try preparing this “fig newton” recipe that is a healthier alternative to the store bought version. For United States grown dates, check out Sun Date’s offerings, which are grown locally in California. Negev Nectars offers a variety of products, including pomegranate jam and dried dates that will help to enhance your Tu B’Shvat celebration.
Olives. Believe it or not, the peak of the olive season in the United States is during the winter! Olives are harvested from November to January in California. In California, The California Olive offers a wide variety of oils featured at local farmer’s markets. For a great, kosher olive oil and other olive products, we recommend supporting Negev Nectars.
Host a sustainable Tu B’Shvat Seder. Joining family and friends, host a seder using the Hazon Tu B’Shvat haggadah and sourcebook! Below are some suggestions on how to create an environmentally sustainable celebration.
Bake Sustainable Tu B’Shvat Challah. Get creative with your challah by adding one, or many, of the seven species. To get really creative, try decorating your challah with a free-formed pomegranate out of dough.
Reuse and Recycle. In modern times, Tu B’shvat has been transformed into a holiday embracing nature, which allows us to focus our intentions on many environmental areas. In addition to supporting sustainable eating, try to cut down waste by using reusable, or compostable, dishes and recycle when possible. For resources and suggestions, visit the Hazon Food Guide.
Compost! Collect leftover fruit and vegetable scraps from your Tu B’Shvat seder and add them to your compost pile (or bring them to a composting facility). You’re kicking off the new year of the trees by contributing to soil fertility and the cycles of life!