Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Goat-manned outposts

Now that's a title you just can't help but click on. Here's the link. I'm not going there.

Instead, here's a nice little photo from Ha'aretz of an almond tree in bloom in the Galil.

The almond tree in bloom in the Galilee on Monday,
a sign that Tu B'Svat has arrived. (Yaron Kaminsky)

A sure sign, as the caption says, that Tu B'shvat has arrived.

And here's the story that accompanies it.

The Jewish National Fund is marking Tu B'Shvat, the Jewish holiday of the trees, with a virtual tree-planting drive this year, giving visitors to its Web site a chance to plant saplings online. The departure from the traditional JNF tree-planting campaign is because this Jewish calendar year of 5768 is a shmita year. Under Jewish law, shmita is the seven-yearly ban on agricultural activity in Israel, letting the land lie fallow for 12 months.

"It's the year of the shmita and we are forbidden from planting," said Zvi Lidar of the JNF. "On the other hand, this is Tu B'Shvat, when people want to express their connection with the ground and with this land, people in Israel and all over the world."

The virtual trees ordered on the JNF site will be planted once the organization's forestation work picks up again in the autumn, once the new the Jewish year has begun.

Here's the JNF website, where you can Click to Plant a tree in Israel for Tu b'Shvat. Or any other day.