On the college campus, when finals and winter break occupy students’ minds, Tu b’Shevat is an exciting time but often a missed opportunity. Our JLIC educators on college campuses across North America took steps to ensure that Tu b’Shevat did not pass without proper celebration.
At Princeton University, students took some time to relax during final exams with a JLIC Tu b’Shevat study break. With fruits of the shivas haminim and Israeli snacks waiting for them in the lounge of the Center for Jewish Life, students could stop by for a quick recognition of the day and a brief taste of the chag ha’ilanos, all the while staying on course for a successful exam period. At Yale University, a number of students joined with JLIC Educator Sarah Cheses to make edible flower arrangements. The students had a wonderful time creating beautiful arrays out of fresh pineapple, strawberries, melons, grapes and other delicious fruits.
Other campuses celebrated with a Tu b’Shevat “seder.” JLIC at UCLA held a seder, dinner and shiur, organized, cooked and sponsored entirely by students; the event attracted 25 attendees. At Queens College, JLIC Educators Rabbi Robby and Shoshana Charnoff invited students to their home for a Tu b’Shevat seder that loosely followed kabbalistic tradition, including the seven species of fruit, four cups of grape juice and spiritual singing. Interspersed throughout the night were divrei Torah on contemplation, focusing our potential, and producing fruit. At JLIC of Toronto, students were greeted to the DANI House with a table full of dried fruit and snacks. JLIC Educator Rabbi Aaron Greenberg introduced the evening, speaking about the concept of patience and what we can glean from fruit in our modern world. A condensed seder was held, with seven divrei Torah corresponding to the seven species of fruit. The night finished with a screening of the award-winning Israeli film Green Chariot.
Despite finals and winter break across the campuses, JLIC made sure that Tu b’Shevat was celebrated well and that students had exciting and meaningful experiences.