KAHULUI - The Jewish Congregation of Maui observes Tu B'Shvat, the Jewish New Year of the Trees, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Kanaha Pond in Kahului.
In the middle of winter, Jews around the world celebrate Tu B'Shvat, which is primarily an agricultural holiday and occurs on the 15th day of the month of Shvat. Ancient farmers recognized that at this time the sap begins to rise in the fruit trees in Israel and the land starts to awaken from winter.
After the destruction of the Second Temple, the Jews were exiled from Israel, and Tu B'Shvat served as a direct agricultural link to their homeland. On this day, they would eat a variety of fruit and nuts that could be obtained in Israel.
The celebration is a reminder to be responsible for the continuation and preservation of the environment.
In that light, the congregation will be doing some weeding of grass and cutting of small kiawe as well as planting of five different species of native plants. There also will be a short talk about the pond's history and native species.
Those attending should bring sunscreen and a bag lunch; cold drinks will be provided.
Close-toed shoes, a hat, long-sleeve shirt and long pants are the recommended attire for the day. Gloves and tools will be provided.
Those attending may bring binoculars to observe migratory water birds that have returned for the winter.
For more information, call the Jewish Congregation of Maui's office at 874-5397.