A distinct memory of my childhood in Israel is my savta (grandmother) squeezing a cup of fresh orange juice for me every day. To this day, the taste of freshly squeezed OJ is a delicacy that I savor, both because of its exquisite taste and because of its connection to memories of my savta. It is an incredibly easy task to squeeze fresh juice, yet most of us juice drinkers will settle for an inferior product that we pour from a dairy carton or plastic jug. From an environmental perspective, we have managed to take nature’s environmentally friendly packaging and replace it with paper and petroleum-based containers!
The upcoming celebration of trees, Tu B’shvat, is a wonderful excuse for classes to dig into various aspects of ecology and nature. I was delighted to see the excitement that squeezing fresh juice provided our first graders as they began exploring citrus fruit. A few generations ago, would people who lived in areas with available citrus even imagine that squeezing juice would be something of interest to children? And yet, this back-to-basics activity on the backdrop of Jewish tradition creates relevance in the context of our silicon valley’s STEAM-focused learning. It is this relevant approach to learning that has brought us recognition by the Council for American Private Education, recognizing Yavneh as a top fifty high-performing school.
Tu B’shvat also sets up the perfect week to be hosting our annual Generations Day. On next Friday, February 14th at 11AM, non-parent relatives, alumni and influential friends are invited to join our classes, enjoy lunch, presentations and Shabbat. Please encourage your guests to RSVP by Monday. The cycle of nature is reflected on this special day as one generation shares its wisdom with the next and celebrates the intellectual harvest of our current generation of Yavneh students. The timing of Generations Day in the context of Tu B’shvat also affords us as adults to reflect on the condition of the planet that we are leaving for future generations, and brings opportunity to our students to think about what their own environmental responsibility might be for themselves and future generations to come. Who knows, there may even be some environmentally-friendly orange juice served. Shabbat Shalom and Tu B’shvat Sameach! -Zvi