We celebrated Tu BShevat at Haydarpasa Synagogue
Celebrated every year at Haydarpasa Hemdat Israel Synagogue, Tu BShevat Holiday this year was celebrated on Sunday, February 1st with the participation of Chief Rabbi Isak Haleva, administrators and officials of Turkish Jewish Community, leaders of Turkish Jewish foundations and organizations and a bevy of Turkish Jewish citizens.
The ceremony started with the Welcome song ‘Baruch Aba’ from Keren Semesh Group. Chairman of Kadikoy Hemdat Israel Foundation Eli Arditi who gave a speech at the ceremony said, “We are the believers of the first and only religion that celebrates concepts like environmentalism, protection of nature, consumption of natural resources and recycling as a holiday. We are in the Book of Shemot (Exodus). While Shemot tells us about people’s liberation from enslavement, it also presents metaphors that lead and pave the way for the journey to individual freedom, freeing us of every thought, obsession and debris that restrict us. In both material and moral sense, the drawback that prevents us from taking a leap is the voice within us.
Exit from Mitzrayim (Egypt) describes getting rid of the “I can’t do it” disease. With Tu B’Shevat, we learn how to fight with this “I can’t do it” disease, literally. It takes almost five years for a tree to grow. For five years we have to tirelessly water it and fertilize it, for it to grow. As Hemdat Israel Synagogue, we will continue striving to invest in the years to come in order for our community to continuously improve.’’
After songs from Minix Pre-School Chorus lead by Izzet Bana, Izak Babat, Leader of Caddebostan Talmud Torah took the stand and said that they hope to see our children become individuals who know their religion, their culture and values and who are committed and proud of their community. He added that Talmud Torah administrators and madrichs will continue working devotedly to ensure this.
After songs from Kadikoy Hemdat Israel Synagogue Chorus led by Gabbai Sedat Amon, Rabbi Yeuda Leon Adoni gave a speech and said that at this holiday we are all obligated to plant a tree. He added that we must refrain from harming bearer trees (trees that yield fruit) since while creating the world God created bearer trees, first.
Later, on behalf of Turkish Jewish Community Jozef Nassi took the stand starting his speech, reminding us we should care for our families and our community just like we care about the trees and plants. He quoted, “Our values kept us alive and strong for centuries. In the past, we achieved to overcome big problems with much limited means and today, given the current circumstances our community should be open to change and innovations to continue existing.”
The final speech was given by Chief Rabbi Isak Haleva who reminded us of two Hebrew passages in Tu B’Shevat songs: “This world is a narrow path” and “God asks us to preserve all beautiful things, protect both the sweet and the sour.”
He also drew an analogy and said that when a person cuts a tree with an axe, he has to step back and walk away from the tree at each blow just like a person who walks away from prayers also walks away from kindness. He stated that the more we look favorably on prayers, the more the prayers will give us blessings.
Traditional tree planting ceremony began after Rabbi Menahem Eskenazi’s Anoten prayer and Keren Semes Group’s Besuv Ad song.
Hemdat Israel Foundation’s Women Volunteers prepared the Seder where we all ate seasonal fruits. At the end of the ceremony the fruit plates prepared specially by the volunteers with all the seasonal fruits, dried fruits and nuts were handed out to guests, as gifts.