Tu B’Shevat is a Jewish holiday that doesn’t get a lot of attention but is very important.  It is known as the Birthday of the Trees, like Arbor Day, and celebrates different fruits and nuts that come rom the Earth.  A Seder is held to discuss and eat different types of fruit that all come from trees.  Some say that each group represents a different force of nature/elements-earth, water, air, and fire.  For more information about the holiday, click this link to read a great article.

One of my favorite explanations is comparing fruits to different kinds of people.  Some fruits and nuts, like walnuts and pomegranates, have outer shells you have to open to get to the fruit; this is like people who are shy on the outside, but sweet and enjoyable once you crack their shell.  Some fruits, like cherries, grapes, and peaches, you can eat the outside but there is a seed or pit in the middle; this is like people who are friendly at first, but not what you expected once you really get to know them.  Finally, some fruits, like raisins and figs, have no shell or pit; this is like people who are sweet both on the inside and outside.

I was fortunate to attend a Seder with new friends this year.  In addition to eating delicious food, we discussed the meaning of the holiday as well.  Tu B’Shevat is celebrated in the winter, when fruits aren’t abundant.  The trees are prepping and waiting for leaves to bud, and fruits to grow and be harvested.  We also compared humans to trees.  We have roots to ground us with our values, and we continue to change and grow.  Sometimes, we are met with difficulties or challenges that require us to pause, stay strong, rebuild, or make changes to ultimately find success.  Like a tree in winter, we may not always be at our best, but overtime, we will bloom again.

Thank you to all those people, near and far, who make up my amazing support team; you help keep my roots grounded, are my cheerleaders through challenges, and celebrate successes with me.  This week, an unexpected challenge occurred, yet my family, friends, and co-workers were by my side to help and make sure I am okay.  Even my students made me feel better cards.  I am truly grateful for the support and friendships I have.

Take time to celebrate the different fruits and people in your life and appreciate everyone who makes up who you are and helps you reach your full bloom.