Exploring Resilience and Recovery: Tu BiShvat and Environmental Stewardship (High School)


Students will explore Tu BiShvat in the context of resilience and recovery following the October 7th tragedy. This Jewish “New Year for Trees” will serve as a platform to discuss environmental stewardship in Jewish tradition and modern ecology, interwoven with themes of community healing and rebuilding. Embracing Active Learning and Collaborative Learning, students will delve into the holiday’s historical significance, the symbolic value of trees in ecosystems and spiritual life and engage in a Tu BiShvat Seder aligned with themes of resilience. The lesson culminates in planning an environmental project, symbolizing the intertwining of nature’s renewal with communal recovery, fostering a profound appreciation for nature and a commitment to proactive environmental and communal restoration.

Big Ideas:
Resilience and Recovery: Exploring the role of trees and nature in Jewish tradition
and their symbolism in the aftermath of the October 7th tragedy.
Historical Reflection and Contemporary Significance: Understanding Tu BiShvat
within the broader context of community resilience and rebuilding post tragedy.
Community Action and Environmental Stewardship: Highlighting the synergy
bet ween communal recovery efforts and environmental conservation.
Empathetic Engagement and Collaboration: Encouraging empathetic understanding
and collaborative responses to environmental and communal challenges.
5. Values of Resilience and Renewal: Drawing par allels between the natural resilience
of trees and the communal resilience in the face of adversity.

Essential Questions:

  • How does the celebration of Tu BiShvat deepen our understanding of resilience and recovery, particularly in the wake of the October 7th events?
  • In what ways do trees and nature offer metaphors for healing and rebuilding communities affected by tragedy?
  • How can our engagement with Tu BiShvat inspire actionable contributions to both environmental sustainability and community healing?
  • What role does collaborative learning play in fostering a resilient response to communal and environmental challenges?
  • How can the values celebrated during Tu BiShvat guide us in responding to and recovering from significant communal tragedies like those experienced on October 7th?

Part 1: Introduction and Reflection on Rebirth (20 min)

Part 2: Historical Significance of Tu BiShvat

Part 3: The Ecosystem, Trees, and Recovery

Part 4: Tu BiShvat Seder – A Celebration of Life

Part 5: Workshop on Resilience and Growth

Part 6: Planning a Community Project



Materials for creating an interactive timeline of Tu BiShvat (posters, digital tools). A mind map approach could be used: https://united-jed.org/practice-page-mind-mapping/

Character sheets or brief biographies for the role-playing activity during the historical segment. Alternatively, a Storytelling approach could be used; https://united-jed.org/practice-page-storytelling/

Research materials (books, internet access, articles) for the ecosystem and recovery exploration. Google search and school library will need to be used.

Art and craft supplies for creating visual aids and for the workshop on resilience and growth.

Fruits, nuts, grape juice or wine for the Tu BiShvat Seder.

Writing and art supplies for personal reflections and group sharing activities.

Whiteboards, markers, and project planning templates for the community project planning session.

Inspirational quotes from Jewish tradition for the introduction and reflection activity

Talmud, Taanit 23a:

אמר לה האי חרובא כמה שנין דאתי ואפיק פירי אמרה ליה עד שבעים שנין א”ל ופשיטא לך דחי
עד שבעים שנין נותרא אמרה ליה אנא בעלמא אייתי וחזי חרובא דנטעו אבהתי לי כי היכי דנטעו אבהתי
לי אפני נמי נטעי לבני


” צַדִּיק, כַתָּמָּר יִּפְרָּח; כְאֶרֶז בַלְבָּנוֹן יִּשְגֶה .”


Rabbi Nachman

אִּם אַתָּה מַאֲמִּין, שֶיְכוֹלִּין לְקַלְקֵל, תַאֲמִּין שֶיְכוֹלִּין לְתַקֵן

Midrash, Kohelet Rabbah:

אַף עַל פִּי שֶחֶרֶב חַדָּה מֻנַחַת עַל צַוָּארוֹ שֶל אָּדָּם אַ ל יִּמְנַע עַצְמוֹ מִּן הָּרַחֲמִּים

Talmud, Masechet Taanit 23a

” רבי זירא כי הוה בעי לסלוק לארעא דישראל לא הוה יהיב פורענותא ליהודה דהוה אמר בישראל דאמר
כל מאן דמסלק לארעא דישראל עובר בעשה שנאמר )במדבר לג, נג( וירשתם את הארץ וישבתם בה
שאני אמר כי היכי דליתי בארעא דישראל ליתי תמן אפילו במקום שהזדמן לי כבוד

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