This past Monday, I organized a “Taste of Tu b’Shevat” event in my local community in Silver Spring, MD. We’ve organized Tu b’Shevat seders for the last five years, but we decided to do things a little differently this year because a) we had some committee exhaustion and b) we sensed that the old model was getting a little stale. However, we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to do something!
So, we organized a “Taste of Tu b’Shevat” event. The program took place on January 10 – more than a week before Tu b’Shevat. We marketed it as an opportunity to “get into the Tu b’Shevat mood,” and we also used it as a chance to tell the community about other upcoming events. Finally, we encouraged attendees to consider planning their own Tu b’Shevat Seder at home on the night of Tu b’Shevat (January 19).
What is a “Taste of Tu b’Shevat”? It’s a mini-seder which only covers one world of the usual seder. The event requires less preparation and can be done in a shorter time than a full seder, although ours lasted about 90 minutes. We did “world one” (white wine, fruit with shells, representing winter), which was appropriate since we haven’t yet begun our actual Tu b’Shevat journey. It was a freezing cold night and so everyone could identify with winter!
Here’s a brief version of the schedule, in case you’d like to try one yourself. And we also have pictures, see below!
8:05 Introduction (10 min)
a. Overview of what we will do tonight
b. What Tu b’Shevat is
c. What a seder is, how it is run
8:15 Juice (5 minutes)
a. Distribute juice
b. Explain why “white” juice (winter)
c. Someone says the blessing (honor card) and we all drink
8:20 Torah learning (20 minutes)
a. Brief torah teaching about trees and planting (3-5)
b. Chavruta study on “Settling the land” (10)
c. Wrap up from chavruta study (5)
End of wrap-up, fruit is served ***
8:40 Fruit (5 min)
a. Setting up the meditation on fruit
b. Someone says the blessing
c. Eat fruit
8:45 Trees, the land, and what we can do (20 minutes)
a. People will read 5 statements about how trees are threatened.
b. People will read 5 statements about what we can do.
c. Plant a virtual tree/support Canfei Nesharim (5)
d. How to run your own seder (5)
9:05 Review of upcoming events (10 minutes)
9:20 Closing quote and smell spices – moment of silence (5 minutes)