The Young Israel of Sunnyside held a fun learning family day to celebrate the birthday of the trees, Tu BiSh’vat, on Sunday, February 5, at the Young Israel of Sunnyside synagogue. Nature comes in the forefront of the celebration just as trees play an integral role in our lives.

The celebration featured Sunnyside community gardener Jennie Plewka, who conducted very engaging and educational workshops. Jennie showed the kids how to find seeds inside fruits and vegetables. The children were delighted to find seeds in different forms – some were difficult to find while some were challenging to count.

The kids also took seeds home to germinate. Jennie also did her signature “wormshop,” delighting the kids of wriggly worms and how we can use them for composting at home. The kids got very excited to touch and feed the worms.

NYC Parks Urban Park Rangers also supported the event. Ranger Salvatore Sarro showed the kids how important trees are in our ecosystem especially in a highly urbanized community. Ranger Sarro encouraged everyone to explore the parks while keeping in mind that everyone must take an active role in helping to protect the trees and plants more.

Guest speaker Rabbi Yitzchak Aminov, Chazaq’s teacher in their after-school outreach program, said that Tu BiSh’vat is a powerful celebration, as it is likened to a New Year. He said that Tu BiSh’vat is the perfect time to reinvigorate that which we hoped for on Rosh HaShanah.

The event was also in participation of Sunnyside Jewish Center. The Young Israel of Sunnyside and Sunnyside Jewish Center’s Joint Board President, Yonatan Menahem, welcomed the local families of Western Queens and the visiting families from Central Queens. Everyone feasted on a beautiful charcuterie of fresh fruits, dried fruits, and cakes. Rabbi Ron Wittenstein, the Young Israel of Sunnyside’s rabbi, opened the festive community Tu BiSh’vat nosh and expounded on the significance of the celebration.