Tu B'ShevatWake Forest Hillel, the Office of Sustainability, and Landscaping Services partnered for a celebration of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year for trees, on Friday, February 1st.

Students and staff braced against the cold on the Benson Circle to plant a new willow oak in honor of the holiday, a celebration of connectedness.

Shoshanna Goldin, president of Hillel, welcomed guests at the event and Dedee DeLongpre-Johnston, Director of the Office of Sustainability gave an explication of Tu B’Shevat. Nicky Vogt, an intern for the Campus Garden, contributed a poem, and Rabbi Michael Gisser, spoke on the spiritual significance of the gathering and provided context for the holiday within the larger Jewish tradition.

Following the speakers, guests took up shovels and worked together to fill in soil around the tree donated by Landscaping Services.

Wake Forest’s Tu B’Shevat celebration occurred slightly later than the actual January 25th date of the holiday. This delay was an intentional accommodation of students’ schedules, but, as Rabbi Gisser quipped, attendees would have been “blown away” by last Friday’s wind and sleeting rain.

A Shabbat dinner, also hosted by Wake Forest Hillel, followed the outdoor celebration.

By Annabel Lang, Wake Forest Fellow for the Office of Sustianability