Many American Jews will be attending a seder this week, but not because they're three months early for Passover. The celebration of Tu B'Shevat — the New Year of Trees — which this year falls on Tuesday, Jan. 22, seems to be spreading far and wide.
The growing concern over the environment and issues like global warming has had an impact on virtually every aspect of contemporary society. But when it comes to Judaism, there's no need to invent an occasion to commemorate our devotion to the subject because one already exists in Tu B'Shevat.
Our religious heritage makes it crystal-clear that attention to the fate of the environment is not only sensible, but an imperative.
In that sense, this holiday is an opportunity to awaken American Jews to the fact that there is no better way to be "green" than by reconnecting to their own heritage.
That said, it also remains important that the annual holiday observance not loose sight of its original meaning, which serves as a reminder of our devotion to the land of Israel and its fragile environment. This year, as Americans rally around the cause of saving our planet, let them also remember that to think "green" is to think Jewishly.