Temple Bat Yam to hold New Year Seder
Most people celebrated the beginning of the New Year on Jan. 1. On Saturday, Jan. 22, Temple Bat Yam will join with Jewish people worldwide in celebrating another New Year – Tu B’Shevat, the New Year for trees, plants, fruits, nuts and grains.
The only Jewish temple and community center serving Lake Tahoe’s South Shore, Carson City and the Carson Valley will celebrate the unique New Year celebration with a special Tu B’Shevat Seder – a creative service and meal for the entire family featuring only fruits, nuts, grains, wines and juices.
Open to the public, those wishing to attend should call (530) 544-2454 or (775) 588-4503 to reserve seating.
Tu B’Shevat – which means simply the 15th day of the month of Shevat -is known as the New Year of the Trees in the Jewish calendar. Falling at this time of year, it represents the natural demarcation between one year’s produce and the next. It falls in the middle of winter, but at the time of year in Israel when one would plant new trees, plants, fruits or grains. Any trees or plants that blossom after this holiday are considered next year’s. The roots of the festival go back to ancient Israel in the days of the Old Testament.
The seder – which means literally a service and meal combination – which will be conducted at Temple Bat Yam Saturday night at 7 p.m. is an outgrowth of the better known Passover Seder that celebrates freedom from slavery in Egypt. But, because it observes the planting of trees and any plants that blossom, the traditional foods are fruits, nuts, grains, wine and juice.
Temple Bat Yam will add a new element to this year’s celebration of this unusual holiday in that it will donate to the residents of Tahoe Senior Plaza basket of fruits, nuts and other items used in the Tu B’Shevat Seder.
Those attending the event are asked to bring baskets that can be filled with the fruits, nuts and grains and to make a donation to offset the cost of the contents of the baskets. Those wishing to sponsor a basket can call (530) 544-7424 or can do so at the event.
The menu for the seder includes 10 types of fruits and nuts clustered into three groups. The 10 fruits and nuts and the three groups symbolize the levels of creation, as seen by the Kabbalists (Jewish spiritualists), who originally developed the festival for trees and other things that grow. In many ways, the event is the spiritual reenactment of the latter states of the creation of the world and the eating of each group of fruits/nuts was accompanied by a recitation of a verse from the Hebrew Bible or Talmud.
The seder will be conducted by Student Rabbi Robert Haas, based on a new, creative service being written by Beckie Wagner, a young member of the temple.
In addition to the fruits, nuts and grains, Tu B’Shevat features the drinking of four cups of wine or, for youngsters, juice. The first is white wine, the second is white with some red wine added, the third is white with more red and the fourth is red. The progression from white to red symbolizes the dormancy of nature in the wintertime (represented by white wine) to the blooming of nature reborn in springtime (represented by red wine).
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