Archives for the month of: January, 2014

The Seven Species (Wheat, Barley, Grapes usually consumed as wine, Figs, Pomegranates, Olives, and Dates)

The Jewish people are commanded to plant FRUIT trees when entering and returning to the land of Israel. “When you come to Israel plant FRUIT trees” and I will bless those who bless you”.

The Hebrew Bible also described Israel as a land blessed with seven fruits and grains, called the seven species or shivat haminim. Today the seven species are still important agricultural items in modern Israel but they no longer dominate the produce of the country as they once did. On the holiday of Tu B’Shvat it has become traditional for Jews to eat from the seven species.

Tu Bishvat is a minor Jewish holiday, occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat.  (This year, Tu Bishvat started at sunset on 15th January and ended at nightfall today 16 January 2014). It is also literally called New Year of the Trees.

Today in contemporary Israel the day is celebrated as an ecological awareness day and trees are planted in celebration. The holiday is also celebrated by eating special fruits or having a Tu B’Shvat Seder.

Planting FRUIT trees in Israel brings blessing to the People and the Land and It also takes a noble man to plant a seed for a tree that will someday give shade to people he may never meet.



DSCN152032 participants from 18 countries have since arrived Rehovot, Israel for the Weitz Center for Development Studies International Training on Policies, Strategies and Support Systems for Rural Revitalization scheduled from January 13th to February 6th, 2014.

The course Policies, Strategies and Support Systems for Rural Revitalization reflects a growing recognition that rural decline poses a major challenge for the development of the developing world and especially for the development of economies in transition. Increased urbanization and the decline in importance of agriculture represents some of the main driving forces for this phenomenon. In this context, diversification of economic activities, improvement of social services and the establishment of an effective system of support for economic and social development, is paramount for the revitalization of rural areas.

The training targets highly motivated individuals working in the following areas: decision makers and policy makers working in governmental ministries, specifically in the field of rural development, environment, agriculture and resource management, planning and economics; Employees of local authorities in the relevant fields; Representatives of rural association; Managers of cooperatives, NGOs or CBOs; Key workers of private sector businesses which operate in the field.

Israel gained significant experience in rural development and revitalization. This includes national policies for rural development, the establishment of cooperative rural settlements, adopting novel technologies for agricultural production, and contemporary economic diversification of income generating schemes in the rural population.

DSCN2357The Weitz Center for Development Studies is a world leader in capacity building for sustainable development. The Centre’s work is dedicated to fostering the efforts of international organizations, governments, communities, civil society and private sector organizations to achieve economic and social improvements worldwide.