Tu B'Shvat, the Jewish holiday of the trees, is once again upon us. Tomorrow the kibbutz has its annual tree planting hoopla. Lots of kids and cookies. Between you and me, Tom and Patches (the gardening crew) have already done 90% of the work: planning which trees to plant (together with Lee because its next to the baseball field), going to several nurseries to find the best trees, weeding the area, digging the holes, bringing compost, and shlepping the trees out . But just plopping that tree in the hole (careful not to mess up the root ball!) somehow connects people. We always set aside at least one tree to be planted by the parents of the babies born on Gezer since the last Tu'Bshvat. Almost every parent still remembers which is their kid's tree.
I think we should also mark the holiday to tip our hats to all those people who not only plant trees, but spend so much time and effort taking care of them. So all you arborists out there- tonight's glass of wine is in your honor. And the next time you pass someone taking care of trees, stop and give them their due. Unless they're chainsawing, in which case don't bother them until they've put it down.
Shimshon Elazar planted most of the Gezer olive trees back in the 1980's. He left Gezer many years ago, but left a legacy (and many trees) behind. He came for a visit last week. It was great to walk around the olive grove and to hear how the whole idea came about, where the trees came from, and all kinds of Gezer olive lore. We discussed my plans for a new grove, and he later came by with a fig tree to plant. What a great guy!
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I'm Dani Livney, a member of Kibbutz Gezer, and the manager of the Gezer olives. I love it! I also work as a lawyer, focusing on environmental projects and promoting environmental empowerment and education.