Saturday, January 28, 2006

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Did You Know?

This year, February 12 marks the Jewish holiday Tu B'Shevat, the New Year for Trees. The holiday celebrates the fruit tree, with special emphasis on wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates—the seven "fruits" of the Jewish Holy Land and symbols of the land's fertility.

Its history is tied to the tradition of fruit tithing—paying 10 percent of one's fruit harvest to the temple for consumption by the priests and the poor—and was recorded into Jewish tradition as part of the Mishnah around A.D. 200. In the modern-day context, the holiday has become the equivalent of a Jewish Earth Day. Planting trees and eating special fruits are popular past-times connected to Tu B'Shevat, a holiday popular with Chabad-Lubavitch children.

In recognition of Tu B'Shevat, the Jewish Children's Museum in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, houses an interactive Jewish holiday exhibit, which includes a talking tree that offers a lesson on Tu B'Shevat to museum visitors. The creation of the Jewish Children's Museum (, the first of its kind in the world, was inspired by Tzivos Hashem, an international children's organization founded under the guidance of the late Lubavitcher rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson.

—Sean O'Connor

Related Links
Possibly the largest Jewish website, it contains information on all aspects of Jewish traditions and customs. Read about the rebbe and his community, spread throughout the world.

Rebbe's Gravesite
Learn about the rebbe's gravesite, and perhaps plan a visit. Guidelines for dress and conduct are available at this site.

Lubavitch News Service
Access news and reports on the Lubavitch.


Feldman, Jan. Lubavitchers as Citizens: A Paradox of Liberal Democracy. Cornell University Press, 2003.

Fishkoff, Sue. The Rebbe's Army: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch. Schocken Books, 2003.

Hoffman, Edward. Despite All Odds: The Story of Lubavitch. Simon and Schuster, 1991.

Kilgannon, Corey. "A Ritual Bath, the Mikvah, Makes an Elegant Return." New York Times, May 31, 2005.

NGS Resources

Yoffee, Emily. "Iowa Kosher." National Geographic (June 2005).

Hall, Alice J. "Brooklyn: The Other Side of the Bridge." National Geographic (May 1983), 580-613.

Arden, Harvey. "The Pious Ones." National Geographic (August 1975), 276-98.

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