Federation Celebrates Tu b'Shevat, Environment
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Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News.
By Amanda Koehn
The Jewish Federation of Cleveland celebrated Tu b'Shevat by reflecting on environmental responsibility, appreciation of nature and interfaith connections in the local community via a seder Feb. 6 at Cleveland Botanical Garden in Cleveland.
About 100 people took part in a unique seder where representatives from various local organizations, including Jewish National Fund - Northern Ohio, Ohio Interfaith Power and Light, Cuyahoga ReLeaf, The Nature Conservancy, Diocesan Social Action Office-Catholic Charities-Diocese of Cleveland, Turkish American Society of Cleveland, the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage and several area synagogues. The seder focused on trees and wildlife, where three different seder plates were filled with nuts and fresh and dried fruits.
Gregg Levine, a co-chair of the event, said Tu b'Shevat provides an opportunity for the Federation's community relations committee to engage people of different faiths in universal values surrounding environmental responsibility.
"The theme of Tu b'Shevat, caring about the earth, caring about how we treat our environment is universal, whether you are Jewish, Christian, Muslim," he said. "It's a wonderful opportunity for us all to get together and celebrate the earth and environment, and work together and get to know each other."
Rabbi Rosette Barron Haim of The Temple-Tifereth Israel led the seder, and asked participants to ask themselves if they are preserving nature to the best of their ability, via recycling, conserving water and not wasting products and food, among other sustainable efforts.
"We remember we have an obligation to care for the earth, to utilize it while at the same time preserving it for future generations," she read from the Tu b'Shevat haggadah.