TU B’SHVAT

For about as long as humans have lived on earth, we’ve found ways to honor our planet through song, ritual and mythology. It’s a tradition that’s central to many of our annual holidays, as we mark the transitions from one season to the next. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Today many Jews around the world are celebrating the holiday of Tu B’shvat.

“Tu B’shvat was a day created by our sages in ancient times, at the end of the rainy season– the winter months in ancient Palestine– to capture a feeling of the renewal going on within nature, that we can’t see.”

David Shneyer is a cantor with an independent Jewish community in Bethesda, Maryland.

“And it was a way in which we could connect ourselves to that process. The sap returning to the trees, and there was a sense of looking forward to the coming spring. There must have been in ancient times a feeling that ‘Gee, if we didn’t help in some way maybe that Spring wouldn’t happen’ so it took on some wonderful importance in the lives of many people in ancient times. A tree in Judaism has a very special place in creation. In fact, such a special place that the Torah, our sacred book of teachings and instruction, the Torah is likened unto a tree of life. We do have a good opportunity in a holiday like Tu B’shvat, to recapture that sense of connectedness because Tu B’shvat is the only holiday that has, as a sole focus the value, the spirituality of our trees.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I’m Jim Metzner.

TU B'SHVAT

Tu B'shvat is a Jewish celebration in honor of trees and the arrival of Spring.
Air Date:02/01/1999
Scientist:
Transcript:

For about as long as humans have lived on earth, we've found ways to honor our planet through song, ritual and mythology. It's a tradition that's central to many of our annual holidays, as we mark the transitions from one season to the next. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Today many Jews around the world are celebrating the holiday of Tu B'shvat.

"Tu B'shvat was a day created by our sages in ancient times, at the end of the rainy season-- the winter months in ancient Palestine-- to capture a feeling of the renewal going on within nature, that we can't see."

David Shneyer is a cantor with an independent Jewish community in Bethesda, Maryland.

"And it was a way in which we could connect ourselves to that process. The sap returning to the trees, and there was a sense of looking forward to the coming spring. There must have been in ancient times a feeling that 'Gee, if we didn't help in some way maybe that Spring wouldn't happen' so it took on some wonderful importance in the lives of many people in ancient times. A tree in Judaism has a very special place in creation. In fact, such a special place that the Torah, our sacred book of teachings and instruction, the Torah is likened unto a tree of life. We do have a good opportunity in a holiday like Tu B'shvat, to recapture that sense of connectedness because Tu B'shvat is the only holiday that has, as a sole focus the value, the spirituality of our trees."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I'm Jim Metzner.