Hillel Teaches Students at Ryerson about Tu B’shvat and Israeli Innovations

By Tova Friedman

On Tuesday January 26th, Members of Hillel Ryerson tabled in the new Student Learning Centre on Ryerson Campus to teach people about the holiday of Tu B’shvat and Israeli environmental innovations.

“Tu B’Shevat is the perfect way to teach others about Israel through the lens of the environment,” said Gal Levin, the Jewish agency Israel Fellow to Hillel. “It also gives us the opportunity to enjoy the nature around us, since on Tu B’shvat we celebrate the birth of the trees.”

The table that was set up incorporated a Bristol board which displayed information about the holiday, and the group handed out dried fruit, as it is traditional to eat dried fruit on Tu B’shvat. They also gave out fabric reusable bags, which contained information about Tu B’shvat and unique agricultural innovations that Israel is working on.

Members of Ryerson Hillel spoke to students as they passed by, gave them the reusable bags, a snack, and informed them about Tu B’shvat. “Throughout the day, many students of different backgrounds approached our table and their responses were all positive, said Allysa Moses, Associate Director of Ryerson Hillel. “Many students never heard of the holiday that celebrates ‘the birthday of the trees’ so we had many interesting conversations with them about Tu B’shvat and cool innovations that Israel is doing in the field of agriculture.”

Although the holiday interested Ryerson students, Levin says that Tu B’Shevat is generally not as popular in Canada as it is in Israel, so it is important to make it noticed across the globe. She believes it is very possible to do this.

“In Israel, it is a tradition to plant trees on Tu B’shvat. This activity, although not as relevant to Canada, can be conceptually implemented,” she said. “Finding a suitable tradition for Canada can revive Tu B’Shevat as a current and modern day holiday.”

“It can contribute to the different environmental needs it has,” she said. “It gets us to focus on agriculture, environmental and “green” topics for the day.”