Dr. Gil Dekel.‎

Introduction and games/activities:‎


Jewish people celebrate four new years, one of which is Tu B’Shevat (Tu BiShvat). The festival is ‎a celebration of the New Year for trees, as they start a new fruit-bearing cycle, after their long ‎winter slumber. Tu B’Shevat marks the 4 months since the first rains in Israel, which is the time ‎it takes the rain water to seep into the earth, nourish the trees, and for the trees to bear fruits.‎

Tu B’Shevat falls on the 15th day of the Hebrew month known as Shevat (on January-February). ‎The word ‘TU’ refers to the Hebrew Letters Tet (‎ט‎) and Vav (‎ו‎) which together have the ‎numerical value‎ of 15.‎‏‎ In Hebrew the letters are pronounced as TU ‎‏‎(‎טו‎)‎‏ ‏which is probably why ‎in English we ‎spell it as TU instead of TV.‎


The Four Worlds and their symbolism for Tu BiShvat. Ⓒ Gil Dekel.

The Four Worlds and their symbolism for Tu BiShvat. Ⓒ Gil Dekel.


The Kabbalistic idea of Four Worlds is taken from a passage in the Torah, in book Isaiah, chapter 43, passage 7:

Anyone who is called by my name and whom I have created in my honour, I have made them a form and also did them.
“כֹּל הַנִּקְרָא בִשְׁמִי וְלִכְבוֹדִי בְּרָאתִיו :יְצַרְתִּיו אַף עֲשִׂיתִיו” (ישעיה, מג, ז)

  • Anyone who is called by my name – Hanikra BeShmi – כֹּל הַנִּקְרָא בִשְׁמִי
  • and whom I have created in my honour – Bara LichVodi – וְלִכְבוֹדִי בְּרָאתִיו
  • I have made them a form (a cast container, mould) – Yatsar – יְצַרְתִּיו
  • I have also did them – Asa – עֲשִׂיתִיו


The Three worlds of Tu Bishvat (there is also a forth world...)

The Three worlds of Tu Bishvat (there is also a forth world…)


Through this post-biblical festival people reflect on their responsibility towards nature, and on ‎being stewards of life, so to speak. Fruits and nuts are eaten, especially those that have been ‎mentioned in the Torah and are related to trees. The seven species of foods that are intimately ‎connected with the land of Israel, are: figs, pomegranates, barley, wheat, dates, olives, and ‎grapes. Some people prefer serving fifteen different species of fruits in their households to ‎allude to the Tu B’Shevat’s date (15th of the month of Shevat). ‎


Like other festivals, there are a few symbolisms to Tu B’Shevat: ‎

  • ‎Trees are planted the same way people are ‘planted’ by God on earth. The trees are planted ‎as seeds in the ground, while people have been ‘planted’ with a divine type of seed which is the ‎soul.
  • ‎Trees have to be watered frequently in order to grow and flourish. Likewise, people have to ‎nourish themselves with positive thinking. ‎
  • ‎A young tree can grow straight upwards once it has been tied to two supports on its each side. ‎Likewise, a young individual needs his parents by his side to guide him as he goes through life. ‎
  • ‎A tree’s strength ultimately relies on how deep its roots reach in the ground. Just like trees, ‎people need to be deeply rooted in their love. ‎
  • ‎A tree’s beauty is measured on the fruits it bears; and people can be measured by the good ‎deeds they do. This is why during Tu B’Shevat, people ask themselves such questions as ‘If an ‎olive tree produces olives, then what can I bring to the world which will bring joy to others?’ ‎

With the increasing emphasis on environmental issues, Tu B’Shevat plays an important role in ‎the wellbeing of society, and mother earth at large.‎

10 Spheres Sapir. Sapphire. Precious gemstone. Kaballah: God created life.  People’s job is to help fix the world. Tu Bishvat

10 Spheres Sapir. Sapphire. Precious gemstone. Kaballah: God created life. People’s job is to help fix the world. Tu Bishvat




Window Transparency art:‎‎ cut a frame from card. Attach transparent sticky-tape at the back, and stick leaves/gem.



Find the Numeric Value of your Hebrew name:‎

Table with Hebrew letters ‘TU’ is made of Hebrew letters that have the value of 15. Each child needs to find the numerical ‎value of their name, using the Hebrew letters and value table, download here.‎


Tree pencil:

You will need: – Pencils, – Brown Florist or washi tape, – Green tissue paper.

Tu Bishvat Tree Pencil craft









House and Garden, made from milk carton:



Strawberry Tree Cupcakes:

Strawberry Tree Cupcakes


Fruit Tree Plate, and Tree Collage:

Fruit Tree plate Tu Bishvat  Tree - collage. Tu Bishvat. Gil Dekel.


The Dance of Trees:‎

Watch trees or play a short video of trees. The children need to act being trees, and make the ‎‎‘sounds’ that trees make (rustle of leaves in the wind), and the ‘movement’ that a tree would ‎make growing from a seed. The children can only act; they are not supposed to speak while ‎performing.‎



Based on the song/dance of Head-Shoulders-Knees-and Toes; just adapted to Tu BiShvat, and starting from the roots…


Tu B’Shevat Word Search game, in the shape of a tree (click image to download PDF):‎

Tu B'Shevat Word-Search game


Tu B’Shevat is also spelled Tu BiShvat ‎(Hebrew: ‎טו בשבט‎), and known as ‎’Rosh HaShanah ‎La’Ilanot’ (Hebrew: ‎ראש השנה לאילנות‎),‎‏ ‏New Year of the Trees. ‎

Updated 3 Feb 2024. First published 2 Jan 2015.
© Gil Dekel