In what is now a tradition, top city officials including the Public Advocate of NYC Tish James, NYC Council Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras joined community leaders representing the gamut of Jewish organizational life at the home of Ezra and Gabriella Friedlander to participate at a Tu B’ B’Shevat seder – a unique opportunity share thoughts of renewal, nature and the environment.
Officiated by Rabbi Steve Burg of the Simon Wiesenthal Center explained the origins and customs of Tu B’Shevat. Tu B’Shevat, the 15th of Shevat is the day that marks the beginning of a “New Year for Trees.” “This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle.
We mark the day of Tu B’Shevat by eating fruit, particularly: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. On this day we remember that “man is a tree of the field” and reflect on the lessons we can derive from our botanical analogue.”
The gathering commenced with a heartfelt appreciation of the Jewish community by NYC Council Finance Chair Ferreras underscoring her recognition of the community’s contributions with an understanding of the holiday’s significance and how that impacts her interaction with the Jewish community a theme echoed by NYC Public Advocate Tish James a longtime friend of the community who also shared her feelings how serving the public is impacted by the lessons of renewal.
As the evening progressed Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, City Councilmembers Mark Weprin and Corey Johnson joined the celebration and shared their thoughts on Tu B’Shevat and how its teachings directly impact their duties as elected officials. City Councilmember Brad Lander who joins the celebration annually and represents the Boro Park portion where the seder took place called in on speaker phone to offer his thoughts.
“On behalf of Gabi and myself, we would like to thank all the participants and our elected officials who enhance Tu B’Shevat by reflecting together about the wonders of G-D’s world and how working together we can truly make this city a better place to live” concluded Ezra Friedlander who hosts the event yearly.