Tu BiShvat (New Year for Trees) 2021 / 5781 בִּשְׁבָט טוּ - (New Year for Trees) Film Screeningand Discussion: The Village Under the Forest

Come and join IJV's Online Chavurah to explore the Jewish National Fund's role in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and its relation to Tu BiShvat, the new year of the trees.

This year, Tu BiShvat will take place from the evening of Wednesday, January 27, until the evening of Thursday, January 28.

View from Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb, JNF trees on the horizon.

View from Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb, JNF trees on the horizon.

Trees have long served political purposes, both symbolic and practical, in Palestine/Israel. From the early days of the last century, the Jewish National Fund collected coins in its Blue Box campaigns, particularly in North America and Europe, to plant trees to "make the desert bloom." The millions raised by the JNF supported the demolition of hundreds of Palestinian villages and the planting of environmentally disastrous pine forests in an ecosystem where they did not belong. Moreover, these forests were intended to prevent Palestinian refugees from ever returning to their villages and rebuilding their homes.

Today the JNF continues to use Tu BiShvat for fundraising, and it schedules major tree-planting events in these forests every Tu BiShvat.

Therefore, in honour of Tu BiShvat, we are coming together on Sunday the 24th of January at 1 pm Eastern Time to watch Heidi Grunebaum and Mark Kaplan’s feature-length documentary film, The Village Under the Forest (Grey Matter Media, 2013), which shows these and other aspects of the role of the JNF in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. After the film, we will have a discussion with filmmaker Heidi Grunebaum.

Event schedule:

1:00 am EST / 10:00 pm PST / 6:00 pm GMT / 8:00 pm CAT - Welcome

1:15 pm EST / 10:15 am PST / 6:15 pm GMT / 8:15 pm CAT - Film Screening

2:15 pm EST / 11:15 am PST / 7:15 pm GMT / 9:15 pm CAT - What can we do?

2:30 pm EST / 11:30 am PST / 7:30 pm GMT / 9:30 pm CAT - Q & A - with Heidi Grunebaum

3:15 pm EST / 12:15 pm PST / 8:15 pm GMT / 10:15 pm CAT - Closing

This film screening/film discussion is co-presented by the Jewish Liberation Theology Institute, the IJV #StopJNFCanada campaign, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network Canada, and the Hamilton Voices of Palestine Film Series.

You must register in advance for this meeting.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Celebrate the 2018 New Year of the Trees by Planting Olive Trees in Palestine!

Dear Friend,

Photo: Olive treeThis year Tu B'Shvat begins at sunset on January 30th, 2018. In the West, Tu B'Shvat, known as the "New Year of Trees", reminds us of the budding life beneath the blanket of winter. It is a Jewish holiday with a long history. In ancient times, farmers gave a portion of their fruits and nuts to people without land. In the 17th century, Jewish mystics hosted ritual meals, or seders, eating symbolic foods which represent various states of consciousness, and enjoying wine in stages from white to red.

In the 20th century, Tu B'Shvat was co-opted by the Jewish National Fund (JNF). It was promoted as an occasion to raise money for the state of Israel. Since its inception, the JNF has functioned with impunity as a nationalist land trust, buying and stealing land in Palestine/Israel exclusively for Jewish use. Through calling on Jews worldwide to donate and "plant a tree in Israel", the JNF took what was a spiritual celebration of our planet's natural cycles, and turned it into a propaganda tool for their colonial project.

Trees for Life: Planting Peace in PalestineIJVa video: Canadians are subsidizing the dispossession of Palestinians - help us put an end to this!

Let's resist and rewrite this story of dispossession. As a statement of our commitment to resist the use of trees to cover up ethnic cleansing and the destruction of communities and land, we invite you to plant a tree in Palestine this Tu B'Shvat through the Trees for Life program.

Your donation will provide saplings to Palestinian farmers, and support the Palestine Fair Trade Association (PFTA). The PFTA unites and supports farmers across Palestine. Priority goes to small farmers, young farmers, women interested in farming and farmers who have lost trees to the occupation.

Honour the sacred tree - it is the path of good and the path of life to anyone who cleaves to it.

Honour and REgenerate by planting a tree in Palestine this year!

Photo: SandraLaya

In solidarity,
SandraLaya Ruch
Celebrant of Life Cycle Events
IJV Spiritual Committee, Toronto