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Got a little bit of extra time? ChallahCrumbs is taking your family to Sunday school. With the holiday of Tu B’Shvat, the New Year for Trees, coming up this month, we’re looking at how we can help the environment. This week we’re talking about taking initiative – sometimes it can be overwhelming! How do you take the first step down the road to making a difference?


Set up a mini-study session with our three sources and the guided questions.

Babylonian Talmud, Ta’anit 23a:

One day he [Honi the Circle Drawer] was journeying on the road and he saw a man planting a carob tree; he asked him, How long does it take [for this tree] to bear fruit? The man replied: Seventy years. He then further asked him: Are you certain that you will live another seventy years? The man replied: I found [ready grown] carob trees in the world; as my forefathers planted these for me so I too plant these for my children. Honi sat down to have a meal and sleep overcame him. As he slept a rocky formation enclosed upon him which hid him from sight and he continued to sleep for seventy years. When he awoke he saw a man gathering the fruit of the carob tree and he asked him, Are you the man who planted the tree? The man replied: I am his grandson. Thereupon he exclaimed: It is clear that I slept for seventy years.

What types of things take a short time to show results?

What types of things take a long time?

Which do you like doing better? Why?

Can you think of another action that may take a long time to show results?

Pirkei Avot 2:21

It is not your obligation to complete the task; nevertheless, you are not free to desist from it.

How does this statement make you feel? Why?

Do you think this is an important idea to keep in mind when you start a big project?

Can you think of something that would be good not to finish yourself

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov: “If you believe that it is possible to damage, believe that it is possible to repair.”

What message is Rebbe Nachman of Breslov trying to teach us?

What have you repaired lately?


The Hebrew month of Shevat begins this week during which we celebrate Tu B’Shevat, the New Year for Trees. Keeping these texts in mind, what type of things can you do that may help the environment. Can you think of little ways that may make a big difference later on? What do you think you would say if you got to travel ahead in time like Honi did? Discuss one way your family can take the initiative and make a change to benefit the environment. Can you start recycling? Composting? Maybe using more scrap paper? How can you help change the world you live in?


Make a LitterBug

Materials needed:

Egg carton

Recyclables caps, packing material, magazine cut-outs

Buttons, ribbons, beads, straws (whatever you have lying around!) etc.




1.    Cut out a single segment of the egg carton. This will be the litterbug’s body.

2.    Be creative when choosing body parts. Straws make great legs, and water bottle lids look fantastic as eyes.

3.    The more interesting things to be used for body parts the better. Try incorporating as many recyclable things like bottle caps, magazine cut-outs, ribbons, and old buttons or beads.

4.    Talk about the risks of littering and reinforce the importance of recycling. Some of the items they are using to create their litter bugs could sit on the earth in a landfill for as long as 500 years


Rivky Schramm Krestt has taught in Hebrew Schools, Community Schools, and Day Schools. She loves finding a way to take the words of a text and make them tangible, relatable, and relevant. She is the Chair of Judaics at the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School and lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband and three children.