A Yesodniks Tu BiShvat Seder Experience


By Mia McGrinder, 2023 Yesod Graduate

Pesach is one of my favorite holidays because of the time I get to spend with my family at our seders. When I learned for the first time at Yesod that there is more than one type of seder, I wanted to know more. Talking about Tu Bishvat during Yesod one Sunday, I got really interested in how the different customary foods represent things like mind and body. I also liked how a Tu Bishvat seder connected to nature and it was a great way to spend time with my family and welcome traditions of this newly learned holiday. 


When I came back from this winter week of Yesod, Shoresh’s B’nei Mitzvah Program, (one of my favorite sessions because of all the learning that really stuck with me from that day) I told my parents that I felt inspired and wanted to create a Tu Bishvat seder of my own. They had never heard of that because it is not as common as some other Jewish rituals like the Pesach seder, for example. Usually my parents are the ones teaching me about holidays and stuff like that so I felt proud to be able to take on this leadership role within my family.


In order to make this happen, I began researching, making shopping lists, and putting together a script for me to reference as the seder leader. I created booklets for everyone with the handwashing, drinking and eating blessings, and I wrote a land acknowledgement and created a video of me reading it. I made a Zoom link and invited extended family members to participate from distant locations. I set up the table with the special foods, drinks, flowers, table cloth, and was even able to use a candle holder I had made by coal-burning wood during another Yesod session. Then I began the seder. 


It was a very educational experience to research and to pull off the seder. It went well and we were able to include some of my American family members via Zoom and they all contributed and participated in the meal. I had only around 1-2 weeks to prepare so with more time and invites I hope to have a bigger and more rehearsed seder next year. I was inspired by Yesod on the Tu Bishvat day.


If you are interested in doing something like this, check out Adamah’s resources, see if anyone you know has information (I got advice from Paul and Tamar, my Yesod mentors), look for common themes and rituals from various sources and create a shopping list with a good amount of time so you can get the stuff you need. Invite family and friends to share this tradition! 


Mia sharing her wildcrafted birch bark Tu BiShvat seder haggadah, at the Yesod Graduation.

© 2018 Shoresh.