Yale Daily News

Tu BiShvat, commonly known as the “Jewish New Year for the Trees,” was celebrated yesterday, Jan. 24, on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. The Slifka Center held a communal dinner in the evening to commemorate one of the four Jewish New Years. The holiday

is typically celebrated in mid-winter because it is believed that by this time of year, the majority of the annual rainfall has already fallen in Israel. This rainfall nurtures a fertile, water-logged soil that helps produce healthy trees. 

The celebration holds a particularly special meaning to Jewish students passionate about climate activism and sustainability, such as Jordan Akers ’25. Akers used the seder, held from 6:30-7:30 p.m., to introduce Yale’s chapter of Dayenu, an organization founded by American Jews that seeks to take action against climate change from a Jewish perspective.

“I’m someone very involved in sustainability efforts on campus and don’t a lot of the time get to have that intersect[ion] with being in Jewish spaces. This is a nice time to have both of those things,” Akers said.

Apart from being a time for celebration, Jewish student leaders are particularly interested in using the message of Tu BiShvat to educate the Yale community on sustainability and what the Jewish faith has to say about these efforts.

“For me, it’s really special to have something so directly in Judaism that is for environmental efforts and renewal. It teaches me to be appreciative of all God gives me and all the agriculture in life as well as to work to make the world a better and more sustainable place,” Eytan Israel ’26 shared with the News.

In the spirit of Tu BiShvat, the Slifka Center will be hosting a Parsley Planting activity on Jan. 25 from 12-5 p.m., open to all students. Parsley is commonly used in Passover seders, and the two months between Tu BiShvat and Passover gives the plant ample time to grow and be used in the celebration.

Amelia Stefanovics ’27 noted that she felt particularly excited about this activity and shared, “I’m really glad that Slifka exists for upholding Jewish life and celebrating so many holidays. I think this event will be really fun.”

The Jewish Law Students Association — a religious, cultural and social affinity group at Yale Law School — also celebrated Tu BiShvat with a seder yesterday evening at the Slifka Center from 7-9 p.m.

The Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale is located at 80 Wall St.