The Knesset held its first ever Tu Bishvat seder. The seder, hosted by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, was conducted Wednesday evening by lawmaker Ruth Calderon and Rabbi David Stav, founder and president of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization.
The seder replicates the four cups of wine from the Passover seder and includes readings associated with the land and produce in keeping with the holiday, which is called the birthday of the trees.
Edelstein said the holiday in Israel, where even in the winter one can connect to the concept of blossoming trees, is a far cry from the holiday in his native Russia.
“When I lived in Russia, the holiday would fall in the midst of bone-chilling winters but here it’s a whole different experience and one that allows us to rejoice in our homeland,” Edelstein said.
He said he hoped the Knesset Tu Bishvat seder would become an annual tradition.
Stav called Tu Bishvat a holiday of belief. “The truth is that even here in Israel where the weather is relatively warm we’re not yet seeing the trees blossom,” he said. “But the lesson is that we believe that the good times of produce and success are just ahead and that is a message of faith that has meaning far beyond just this holiday.”
Over two hundred people including government ministers, Knesset members and staff and students from around the country attended the seder.