Jewish Facts of Life

Tu B’shvat, one of the minor Jewish holidays (kind of like Israel’s Arbor Day), will fall on February 7 and 8 this year. Rich Robinson, our head of research whose job it is to “know things” reflected on the holiday in his own unique way. You can read part of his article below.

Sometimes I think I want to invent a new reality show. Not that we don’t have enough already. But I think it would be cool to have something along the lines of, Who Wants to Dance with a Survivor? or Xtreme Life Swap Makeover. You know, something that’s a little edgier that what’s out there right now.

It’s kind of ironic that most of our reality shows don’t deal with reality. Nothing about Iraq, nothing about nuclear arms. Instead they’re mostly about dancing, singing, and looking better. I guess some people’s reality is different than mine.

The reality that most of us need to deal with has a lot to do with the color green, at least according to Al Gore and Toyota’s Prius division. Our future problems are not going to concern bad dancing or bad hair or bad furniture. They are going to concern our habitat, our fishbowl of a planet where, so say some pundits, the future is going to be blue unless we see enough red to make it green. (Okay, no one actually put it quite like that, but I’m scheduled to make an appearance on So You Wanna Talk Like a Pundit? and I’m sure I’ll get better with the fancy literary phrases after my makeover.)

Which brings me to . . .Tu b’Shvat. This is such a minor holiday that it doesn’t even have a name. All Tu b’Shvat means is the 15th of the month of Shvat. This is essentially like calling July 13th a holiday named “July 13th”…On the other hand, even though the name is minor, the idea behind it isn’t. Tu b’Shvat is the Jewish Earth Day, the Plant a Tree in Israel Day, the Festival of Al Gore Day. It’s the time to remind us that we should care about the land, the environment, the eco-system, the animals, the air. And that you don’t have to be that guy from Into the Wild to care about all that, because these all affect urban clubhoppers and Donald Trump’s apprentices, too.

Since this is a Jewish holiday, a little bit of Bible is in order. In the story of Adam and Eve, mankind starts out in a garden, not in a garage. We all end up in a city by the end of the Bible, but our roots are among the trees. Click here for the rest of the article, or if you don’t like the article but are still interested in Tu b’Shvat, click here.


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