Two generations came together to celebrate Tu B’Shevat, the New Year for trees, at the Friendship Circle of Free Hebrew for Juniors in Montreal, Canada, this Sunday. The event began with an in-person activity for the younger members, who made gummies out of fruit juice while learning about the health properties of the various fruits. The second part, which took place over Zoom, included parents, and some grandparents, in activities designed to stimulate discussion about the importance of family ties.
The Tu B’Shevat Gummy Shoppe is a project of CKids, the Chabad Children’s Network. Over three thousand children in more than 130 chapters nationwide participated in the program, which emphasized the importance of both physical and spiritual health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Participants were given a Doodle Art Diary on the theme of the day: “Tu B’shvat, trees, and the importance of family roots,” says Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, Executive Director of CKids. The Doodle Adventure compared parents, grandparents, and ancestors, all the way back to Abraham and Sarah, to the roots of the Jewish family tree. Mitzvot done in the home, such as charity, Shabbat candles, and mezuzahs, water the tree and ensure its continued growth, while connecting the family to their past.
The diary’s final page prompted the children to draw a picture of their family and write down one good deed they could do to make sure that their “tree” remained healthy and strong. “Parents were blown away,” says Mrs. Sima Paris, leader of the CKids chapter at Free Hebrew. “It provided an opportunity for them to bond with their children.”