Tu Bishvat Gift Bags, 1920
The writing on the paper bag says “Presents for the children of Jerusalem” and contains the verse from Leviticus 19: 23: “When you come to the Land and you will plant any food tree.”
This is a bag that contained sweets and fruits which was prepared for the Tu Bishvat procession organised by the Teachers’ Association in Jerusalem in 1920. These bags were distributed to children taking part in the procession and were decorated with a design of plants and a Star of David with the word “Zion.”
The bag shows two major customs that developed around Tu Bishvat. The first was the custom of eating dried fruit, which developed in Europe in the Middle Ages when fresh fruit from the Land of Israel was not available. The second custom began in the Zionist settlements in the late nineteenth century. Tu Bishvat became a day to plant new trees across the country. This custom was adopted by the Teachers’ Association of Israel in 1908. This explains why the name “Festival of Planting” is written on the bag rather than the more traditional name of Tu Bishvat.
Jewish Studies teachers can use this resource when teaching about the festival of Tu Bishvat and the activities that have taken place historically in Israel to celebrate this festival.
Geography teachers can use it to discuss the evolution of the festival from a date signifying the start of the agricultural cycle to a day of ecological awareness.
Art teachers can discuss the creation of such items for celebrating Jewish festivals and have students design their own Tu Bishvat bags.
What is this?
Who created this bag?
When was this bag created?
Which festival is this bag celebrating?
What name is given to this festival on the bag?
Who would have received one of these bags?
Reading Between the Lines
What do you think this bag was originally filled with?
Why would children have received these bags?
Why is Tu Bishvat referred to here as the Festival of Planting?
Tu Bishvat was first referred to in the Mishnah (Rosh Hashana 1:1).
What was Tu Bishvat according to the Mishnah?
How did Tu Bishvat evolve throughout history?
What traditions were added to this festival?
Why did Tu Bishvat become so popular during the twentieth century?
Why did people come to see the festival as having such significance?
Why would the Teachers’ Association have been involved in these celebrations?
How is Tu Bishvat celebrated today?
One of the Tu Bishvat traditions is to have a Tu Bishvat seder.
When did the custom of having a Tu Bishvat seder begin?
Who started this custom?
What is the seder comprised of?
Look at the text of the Tu Bishvat seder.
What parts of the seder do you particularly like?
Organise a Tu Bishvat seder for your school this year.
What will you do during the seder and why?
Design a bag for Tu Bishvat fruit.
What did you include in the design and why?
What text did you use?
The Festival of Planting
A gift from the Zionist Commission
To the children of Jerusalem
On Tu Bishvat
“When you come to the Land and you plant any food tree”