(TIMES OF ISRAEL) -- EL SOBRANTE, CALIFORNIA — In a state park outside of San Francisco, 200 Jews and pagans gathered on Sunday in honor of the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat, standing beneath a forest of towering eucalyptus to celebrate trees and the practices indigenous peoples utilized to take care of them.
Jews around the world marked Tu Bishvat, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat, on Monday. According to Jewish tradition, the date marks the “New Year” by which farmers calculated the age of trees and the proper amount of fruit to tithe to the Temple. In recent years it has also become a rallying holiday for the Jewish environmental movement.
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Wilderness Torah, a 13-year-old organization that celebrates Jewish tradition centered around agriculture and nature, joined forces with JeWitch Collective, a gathering of “Jews, pagans, and those who love them,” to honor trees at a time when fires and environmental devastation are destroying record numbers of them around the world.