Musical Tu B’Shevat Seder
Sunday, Jan 16, 2022
Tu B’Shevat is the Jewish New Year for the trees. Like many Jewish traditions, this one is grounded in harvesting practices and the change of seasons. The holiday’s ritual seder was popularized by 16th century Rabbis living in Sefad (a town 100 miles north of Jerusalem). Much like the widely observed Passover seders that are centered on the eating and drinking of certain symbolic foods in a specific order, the Tu B’Shevat seder involves eating 10 different fruits and nuts as well as drinking four cups of wine in a specific order. These rituals are rooted in explorations of both the mystical and natural worlds.
This Sunday evening all are welcomed to join online as four Jewish spiritual and musical leaders, Rebekka Goldsmith, Batya Levine, Jessie Reagen Mann and Rabbi Micah Shapiro take us on a journey through these worlds with artfully curated and beautiful songs, poems, and prayers. Follow along by downloading the Hagaddah (guide book) here, which was made especially for this event.
More about Tu B’Shevat and the Program
This ancient holiday, whose name literally means the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat, is rooted in a legalistic tithing practice described in the Mishna. Later, Tu B’Shevat became a more ethereal, spiritual experience when 16th century kabbalists (Jewish mystics) inaugurated a ritual to honor the trees, providing a framework for a communal celebration that is still developing today. The traditional Tu B’Shevat Seder moves through different mystical “worlds,” mapping these esoteric realms onto corresponding types of fruit, wine, and other tree-rooted themes. At our musical seder, we plan to explore these worlds via song, poetry, and embodied experiential practices. We will describe and bless different kinds of nuts, fruits and wine (or grape juice) during each part of the ritual and we will sing wordless melodies and other songs with thematic links to the holiday. Throughout the evening, we will invite virtual participants to share in the experience through online chatting and other suggested practices. No experience with or knowledge of Tu B’Shevat is necessary. Live captioning will be provided.
Ways to Watch
Zoom: Registration is required to receive the link–click here. The Museum’s Zoom can accommodate 1000 guests. Should we reach that number, please use one of the other methods listed below—they are all free and have unlimited capacity.
Facebook: Look for the LIVE post on the Museum’s Facebook page at 8pm ET. You do not need a Facebook account to view the program.
Weitzman NMAJH website: A little before the program start time, the livestream will also be available at the top of this page. You will be prompted to enter your email address. Please note that you may need to refresh your screen and press “play” on the video—the static image will be replaced with the live feed before the program starts.
This program is presented by the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History and Hadar’s Rising Song Institute, in partnership with The Friends of Laurel Hill & West Laurel Hill Cemeteries.
You may also be interested in…
1pm ET on January 16 – Tu B’Shevat Tree Tour at West Laurel Hill Cemetery