Category Archives: Jewish Holiday

Celebrating Tu b’Shvat!

Written by: Leah Zigmond

Tu b’Shvat falls on February 11th this year, and will be celebrated by eating dried fruit, singing songs about flowering trees, and (after Shabbat) planting trees in communities all over the world. Tu b’shvat is a minor holiday, but a holiday deserving recognition. Tu b’Shvat perfectly embodies the spirit of Zionism at Camp Judaea. Here is my endorsement for making Tu b’shvat a part of your family’s Jewish practice this year:

Historically, the fifteenth of the Jewish month of Shvat became a special day because of a commandment in the Torah that instructed Jewish farmers to contribute 10% of the fruit from their orchards each year to the temple, to help support the priesthood. The problem was, the farmers had to be able to determine when the growth started and which fruit to count. They decided that the date that trees began to flower would be considered the new year. After some arguing among farmers of the plains and valleys of the small but geographically diverse land of Israel, it was decided that the 15th of Shvat would be accepted as the new year of the trees. The name Tu b’Shvat comes from the gematria which attributes numerical values to Hebrew letters, the acronym tet-vav (Tu) carries the value of 15.

Today many celebrate the holiday of Tu b’Shvat as a Jewish Earth Day, planting trees, eating fruits, and taking time to consider our connection to the land. Take a moment to consider these questions,

  • What is my relationship with the land and place that I live in? How do I affect it and how does it affect me?
  • What is my relationship with the Land of Israel?
  • How can I work to be a steward of the land for future generations, through the food I eat, the way I get from place to place, and the way I live?

A Prayer for Planting Trees
Deepen the roots of these saplings that we are planting today.
Help them to grow and beautify the land in its splendor, together with all the trees of the earth.
Help us too, to put down roots in the earth. Let us grow together with these trees we plant—with blessing and with intention.
Let us be blessed together with all the people of the earth.
As it is written, the fields will be lush and all that is in them; and all the trees of the forest will sing (Psalm 96:12).
(adapted from the siddur HaAvodah Sh’b’Lev, the Israeli Movement for Progressive Judaism Prayer book)

Shana Tova!

Shana Tova 5777 from Camp Judaea on Vimeo.

In just a couple of days, we will say goodbye to 5776 and welcome the Jewish New Year 5777 with apples and honey, well-wishes, and hopes for a sweet new year.  As we proudly reflect on the past year and recent completion of our 56th summer season, we are so thankful for the amazing memories that were created by campers and staff and the wonderful opportunities that Camp Judaea provided them.

As we celebrate our own successes and accomplishments, it is important to remember those whose year was not as sweet and full as ours.  In 2016, Camp Judaea served 623 campers and over 35% of those campers received financial aid based on need.

Now we look ahead to our 57th season and watch our enrollment climb faster than ever before.  Many of the applicants have already indicated that they will need financial assistance in order to send their children to camp, and we anticipate even more will request help as we get closer to the summer.

Every child should have the opportunity to attend Camp Judaea and should not have to miss out on a summer of Zionism, friendship, and fun due to financial circumstances.

You can make Camp Judaea a reality for deserving campers by making a gift to the Camp Judaea scholarship fund.

A family that you so generously helped send to camp last year could not be any more thankful:

“…You have made a very difficult time for our family so much easier and taken an incredible weight off of our shoulders and made our souls sing…Then today when I received your email (about scholarship), I literally let out a sigh of relief that my kids, through you guys, will be shaped to be the humans I want them to be, and be kind, compassionate, and have a strong love for all Jews and mankind.”

Click here to make a “sweet” donation today to Camp Judaea’s scholarship fund.

Thank you and Shana Tova!