The Office of Sustainability, Landscaping Services and Wake Forest Hillel joined together to celebrate Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year of Trees. On February 10, students and staff members gathered to plant a willow oak tree on a green patch of earth in the loop between Reynolda Hall and Reynolds Gym. In addition to their efforts on campus, Wake Forest Hillel also sponsored the planting of three trees in Israel as part of the celebration.
“Tu B’Shevat may be a lesser known Jewish holiday, but it’s one of my favorites,” freshman Shoshanna Goldin, Wake Forest Hillel Social Action Co-Chair, remarked. “It combines Tikuun Olam, the Hebrew term for ‘Healing the world,’ with a celebration of life and nature. Tu B’Shevat focuses on appreciating the little things in nature that we otherwise might miss – the budding flowers on a tree, the perfect apple, the smell of rain.”
Carrie Stokes, campus garden intern in the Office of Sustainability offered a moment of reflection at the celebration during her recitation of “Stream of Life” by Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore. “I found that this poem not only stressed the interconnectedness between all members of the university, but also our ties to the earth which sustain our lives.”
Wake Forest Hillel also paid homage to the earth by putting a vegetarian twist on their regular biweekly Shabbat Dinner. Many members of the sustainability office joined in, breaking challah, with members of Hillel to commemorate the successful planting of the willow oak.
This event is only the first of many to come in a fruitful partnership between sustainability and Hillel. Both groups look forward to the planting of an apple and fig tree in the campus garden this spring. “I think both of our organizations have a vested interest in making this campus, this town, and our world a healthier, happier place to live,” junior Chelsea Eversmann, Wake Forest Hillel Social Action Co-Chair, said.
By Joey DeRosa, Communications and Outreach Intern