Reposted with permission from The Jerusalem Post.

Just as tax day is an audit of our financials and Rosh Hashana is an audit of our souls, Tu Bishvat is the time in the Jewish calendar when we take stock of the glory of nature.  Across the 510 million square kilometers that blanket the third planet from our Sun, about 7.7 million species fly, swim and roam; about 300,000 species sprout, and of those, about a third stand, sway, shade and bear fruit as trees.

Tu Bishvat, which begins next Friday evening, is the birthday of the three trillion trees greening the planet. According to a Sephardic Midrash (rabbinical tale), the trees deep in the forest at midnight secretly branch out and embrace one another in celebration.

These trees, covering about a third of the land, are Earth’s lungs gifted by God.  Trees store massive amounts of carbon as the miracle of photosynthesis turns carbon dioxide into plant food for growth and oxygen for each time we inhale.  The trigger, of course, is the constant nuclear explosions 150 million kilometers away, with photons streaking out at the speed of light for eight minutes from the Sun to Earth and waking a sugary chemical reaction on a simple green leaf.  (Those same photons could power Israel and the world.) 

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Yossi Abramowitz, WGF Alum (Class 3), is the co-founder of the solar industries in Israel, East Africa, West Africa and elsewhere and has been named by CNN of one of the six leading Green Pioneers worldwide.  Yossi made Aliya to Kibbutz Ketura in the Arava Desert with his wife, Rabbi Susan Silverman, and their five children and now lives in Jerusalem.  He was part of the official Israeli delegation to the Paris Climate Conference and was the first private sector candidate for the Israeli Presidency.  Prior to making Aliya, Yossi was honoured with the Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education for spearheading major initiatives such as,,, BabagaNewz and a dozen other projects.  He can be reached at