Tu b’Shvat, the Jewish new year of trees, a minor holiday on the Hebrew calendar, is traditionally celebrated in Israeli forests with mass tree-plantings, and in some diaspora communities with kabbalistic seders and the eating of symbolic Israeli fruits, right.
One local couple has its own Tu b’Shvat custom.
For the third time, Yoni and Vivian Stadlin, founding directors of the upstate Eden Village Camp (edenvillagecamp.org) — “The innovative Jewish organic farm camp” — spent a week 150 feet in the air, atop a two-century-old redwood tree in northern California, to keep the endangered tree from being cut down by loggers.
The couple says they took their cue from the one-day holiday, which starts Feb. 7 at sundown. “We cooked, slept and made Shabbat “in the branches of the world’s tallest tree “as part of an environmental protection action. Our grove included 50 redwoods connected by zip lines; these trees would have been cut down three years ago were it not for the continual presence of ‘tree-sitters.”
They took the same environmental action in California redwoods in 1999 and 2006. “Today,” they say, “those trees are alive and well.”