Last night started Tu B'Shevat - it's the 'New Year of Trees' which I guess in the most simple explanation, is the 'Jewish Arbor Day'. It started as an agricultural festival (celebrating moving toward Spring from Winter), and there are two main things that people try to do for the holiday - eat a new fruit, and plant a tree.
I was talking with Av this morning about it - every year in elementary school, he and the other kids would bring $5 (it's now $18) to send to JNF to plant a tree in Israel.
When Av was 15 and took one of his trips to Israel, part of his trip was to go to a JNF forest - there are *tons* of JNF forests where together over 240 million trees have been planted since 1901 - and he planted four trees, one for each grandparent.
Here he is on that trip holding the four trees (wow! look at those glasses! haha! I think those are the crazy ones that get dark in the sunshine on their own. Okay - well, this was the early '80s...):
Today, we did three things for Tu B'Shevat - we donated $18 to JNF to plant a tree in Israel, we planted our new pink perfection camellia in the yard (well, actually Av did that last week when it arrived! Here it is in the snow...I hope it's going to be okay...):
...and we donated money to take part in the "Keep Mississippi Beautiful Avenue of Magnolias" program that has been going on for over 40 years. For $25, the Keep Mississippi Beautiful organization will plant a magnolia along a road leading into the state in honor or in memory of someone.
Next holiday: Mardi Gras (yay!). Av and I belong to the Jewish krewe, and our parade rolled this past weekend, but we had to stay at home this year for the first time. We'll be there next year, though! Since we didn't get down to New Orleans, I decided to order a king cake to be delivered from Paul's - they make the *best*. When I make ours here, I'll post the recipe & pics too.