SCoJeC joined forces with UJIA, Scottish Forestry, and Operation Play Outdoors for an afternoon of tree-themed activities in celebration of Tu b’Shvat.
Tu b’Shvat is the “New Year for Trees”, and UJIA’s Senior Educator Sydney Switzer spoke about its religious significance. She explained that in ancient Israel, Tu b’Shvat marked the end of winter, and the end of one agricultural year and the beginning of the next. This had significance for many of the religious rules about farming in the Holy Land, such as the timing of separating the tithes that had to be taken and eaten in Jerusalem. Today some of these rules are still observed in Israel, and many people also celebrate Tu b’Shvat by planting trees, participating in outdoor activities, and eating a “seder” of fruit and nuts.
Families from Pittenweem to Glasgow joined us at Dunnikier Park in Kirkcaldy where the team from Operation Play Outdoors laid on a series of fun activities for all ages.
First we built dens from rope, tarpaulin, and whatever natural materials we could find in the woods, learned about the materials used to make them, and then used the dens in an exciting game of hide and seek.
Everyone came together around the campfire, to roast hotdogs and toast marshmallows, after which we found out how to identify the many different types of trees around us from their shape and that of their leaves. We then planted trees in compostable cups to take back home, giving everyone a tangible reminder of the day, and four larger trees were planted in pots and given to representatives of different cities around Scotland.
“It was lovely to see families from across Scotland coming together in the wonderful wilderness of Kirkcaldy and learning about Tu b’Shvat”, said one participant, and another commented on the excitement of being able to meet up with other Jewish families to learn more about and celebrate Jewish culture.
It’s great to be able to hold outdoor events once again as pandemic restrictions begin to ease, so stay tuned for future SCoJeC activities!