(5 min) Welcoming & grounding
“...I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider.” - Martin Luther King, Jr; letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963.
From wiki: Tu BiShvat (Hebrew: ט״ו בשבט) is a Jewish holiday occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat (in the current year, Tu BiShvat begins at sunset on January 20 and ends in the evening of January 21). It is also called "Rosh HaShanah La'Ilanot" (Hebrew: ראש השנה לאילנות), literally "New Year of the Trees." In contemporary Israel, the day is celebrated as an ecological awareness day, and trees are planted in celebration.
And I’ve learned of trees planted by Israelis as weapons - trees that ruin farmland belonging to Palestinians who’ve been caring for the groves for long long long cycles of their human pasts & presents.
God forbid we allow this interpretation to drive us forward on this path. I don’t know how the holiday came to be, but if it’s here to stay in my community, as it seems to be, thank goodness we can oppose this approach towards destruction, and build our path towards mutuality, respect, and equal rights.