February 10, 2023: Tu B’Shevat Seder

February 10, 2023: Weeks of preparation proved fruitful last Sunday, as our students and our teachers had a great time participating in our Tu B’Shevat Seder. Tu B’Shevat, the New Year for Trees, is sometimes known as the Jewish Arbor Day.  It dates back to a more agriculturally centered society, when there was a greater dependence upon homegrown produce for sustenance.  At one time, Ohr Chadash participated in a JNF effort to have trees planted in Israel at this time of year to teach the children about the importance of trees in the global ecosystem.

The children learned about the different groupings of fruits; those with an inedible outer covering (a shell or peel), those with inedible pits or seeds, and those fruits which were completely consumable.  They were given differently colored grape juices, which were representative of the four seasons of the year, beginning with white in winter and ending with deep purple for the autumn.  To see how versatile pomegranate was they saw the seeds in the open fruit and then were given the opportunity to taste the juice, which was a bit tart.

Bokser, or carob, the long brown fruit indigenous to Israel, was presented to the children in several forms.  The students and teachers were able to taste the bokser in its original form, and then were offered the more palatable carob as a covering over a rice cake, which tasted very much like chocolate.
Lastly, they were given a special treat, brownies made with carob powder instead of cocoa.  That dessert got a very enthusiastic “thumbs up” and it will be posted on the Ohr Chadash website shortly.

Concluding the program, our children were afforded the opportunity to plant either marigold or lima bean seed.  They should take about two weeks to sprout if watered properly, and hopefully the marigolds will be ready for Mother’s Day in May.