IJV Online Chavurah: Tu Bishvat Session

Join the Independent Jewish Voices’ Online Chavurah on Sunday, January 24th at 1:00pm EST for a discussion and film screening of the documentary The Village Under the Forest.

We will be exploring the role of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and its relation to Tu BiShvat, the birthday of the trees.

This year, Tu BiShvat will take place from the evening of Wednesday, January 27, 2021 until the evening of Thursday, January 28, 2021.

Trees have long served political purposes, both symbolic and practical, in Palestine/Israel. From the early days of the last century, the JNF collected coins in its Blue Box campaigns, particularly in North America and Europe, to plant trees to “make the desert bloom.” The millions raised by the JNF supported the demolition of hundreds of Palestinian villages and the planting of environmentally disastrous pine forests in an ecosystem where they did not belong. Moreover, these forests were intended to prevent Palestinian refugees from returning to their villages and rebuilding their homes.

Tu BiShvat, known as the “New Year of Trees”, is a Jewish holiday with a long history.  It has been celebrated in many different ways in Jewish history, changing to meet the needs of each generation. In ancient times, farmers gave a portion of their fruits and nuts to people without land. In the 17th century, Jewish mystics hosted ritual meals, or seders, eating symbolic foods that represent various states of consciousness, and enjoying wine in stages from white to red.  

Today the JNF continues to use Tu Bishvat for fundraising, and it schedules major tree-planting events in these forests every Tu BiShvat.

Therefore, in honour of Tu Bihvat, we are coming together on Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 1:00pm EST to watch The Village Under the Forest (Grey Matter Media, 2013), a feature-length documentary (1hr 4 mins) by Heidi Grunebaum and Mark Kaplan. The film clearly shows the role of the JNF in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Afterwards, we will have a discussion with
Heidi Grunebaum.

Event schedule:

1:00 pm EST / 10:00 am PST / 6:00 pm GMT / 8:00 pm CAT – Welcome

1:15 pm EST / 10:15 am PST / 6:15 pm GMT / 8:15 pm CAT – Film Screening

2:15 pm EST / 11:15 am PST / 7:15 pm GMT / 9:15 pm CAT – What can we do?

2:30 pm EST / 11:30 am PST / 7:30 pm GMT / 9:30 pm CAT – Q & A – with Heidi Grunebaum

3:15 pm EST / 12:15 pm PST / 8:15 pm GMT / 10:15 pm CAT – Closing

This event is co-presented by the Jewish Liberation Theology Institute, IJV’s #StopJNFCanada campaignInternational Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)-Canada, and Hamilton Voices of Palestine Film Series.

You must register in advance for this event here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information on how to join.

About the IJV Online Chavurah

IJV’s Online Chavurah is a non-Zionist space where we can build connections with like-minded people. All viewpoints are valuable, and we encourage participants to share their own unique thoughts and experiences. This is not a group meant to debate differences in opinion but to share and support each other’s learning.

IJV’s Online Chavurah does not presuppose any theology nor any particular knowledge about anything other than one’s own life. It uses a group format to explore Jewish text, liturgy and theology, providing time for participants to discover new meaning in old writings.