In honor of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year of the trees, I want to recommend my very favorite book on the subject. (And no, it’s not The Giving Tree, which, despite the title, just really isn’t about trees. Thank God.)
Our Tree Named Steve takes the form of a letter written by a father to his children, alerting them about the loss of a beloved backyard tree. His letter enumerates the varied, but equally essential roles the tree has played throughout their lives; it is, in turns, funny, heartwarming, and heartbreaking. I cry a little almost every time I read it. (But a happy kind of cry, not a “can’t she just say ‘no’, even once, to that damn boy?” cry.) Steve, too, is a giving tree, but no martyr; he has given and taken joy as a clothesline holder, first base, campsite, smooching spot and (spoiler alert) sewage slurper.
I could say more, but your time would be better spent finding the book, buying it and reading it. Enjoy.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

As a public school child in the 70’s, my Valentine’s Day often ended in tears. I remember digging into my optimistically large brown paper bag in first grade to find only three envelopes, even though my mother had insisted I fill out mass-produced cards for every child in my class. “No one likes me!” I […]

One of the greatest privileges of being a kindergarten teacher in a Jewish day school is having the opportunity to teach children to recite the four questions. Unlike almost anything else I teach them about Jewish ritual, this is “real work.” The candles will get blessed, kiddush will be recited, and birkat hamazon chanted with […]

I’m not exaggerating. The bane of my Passover existence has been pareve baking. I cook a lot more meat during the holiday than I do the rest of the year, which means a lot more pareve desserts. Which has, up until now, usually meant margarine made from disgusting ingredients such as cottonseed oil. Last year, […]

I’m not a haggadah junkie. I know many Jews whose shelves are overflowing with numerous versions of the Haggadah – from the traditional Maxwell House to the not-so-traditional Santa Cruz – and whose seders are an amalgam of commentaries, poems, and (alas) responsive readings, from these dog-eared, post- it covered books. Maybe it’s because my […]