In honor of the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat (Jan 16-17), and to celebrate the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Israel’s commitment to tree-planting, conservation and the environment, Sharaka partnered with multiple organizations to plant trees while spreading awareness of the environment and the Jewish holiday.

On Sunday, January 16, Sharaka UAE, the Fakhruddin Group and the Storey Group (which specializes in environment and sustainability)_ came together to celebrate Tu Bishvat with a Tree Planting Event at the Treppan Hotel & Suites, Sports City, in Dubai. In attendance were Sharaka’s leadership and activists in the UAE, led by co-founder and CEO Dr. Majid Al Sarrah, Sharaka USA CEO Omar Al Busaidy, Media and Academic Advisor, Dr. Najat Al Saeed, Avital Shneller, and members from the Jewish Community in Dubai. Also, the Chief Operating Officer from Fakhruddin Group, Samiullah Khan, and the Project Manager of Storey Group, Kirsty Roberts, attended the event.

On Monday, January 17, Sharaka Israel teamed up with Jewish National Fund USA at the Neot Kedumim Park to plant “trees for peace.” Because every seventh year, it is religiously forbidden to plant new plants in Israel, the attendees planted oak trees in planters, which will be transferred to the soil after the next Jewish new year. Participating were members of Sharaka Israel, headed by Sharaka’s Global Affairs and Communications Director Dan Feferman. Heading the Jewish National Fund (JNF) USA group was Yael Levontin, PR and communications Director in Israel for JNF USA.

At the same time, members of Sharaka Bahrain met to plant trees and commemorate the holiday in honor of the peace accords and to spread awareness

The Tu Bishvat is a Jewish holiday occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat (in 2022, Tu BiShvat begins at sunset on January 16 and ends in the evening of January 17). It is literally the “New Year of the Trees.” In contemporary Israel, the day is celebrated as an ecological awareness day, and trees are planted in celebration.

Dubai event

Rabbi Levi Duchman, Head of the Jewish Community Center in the UAE, said, “When you are connected to the roots and you maintain your identity and you keep to your core, that’s when your tree is alive. When your tree is alive, they can give fruit and they can inspire others. To celebrate Tu BiShvat here in the UAE in such a way is incredible.”

Majid Al Sarrah said, “Sharaka is trying to build bridges between people from different nations, different religions, and different cultures. We are all gathered here despite our differences and diversity and getting together to plant these trees for the future. This is the object of Sharaka; getting all people together and building a sustainable peaceful future for our next generations to learn about love and combat hate and discrimination.”

Kirsty Roberts of the Storey Group said, “Make your children see the tree that you gave to them in their first birthday when they turned 21, when they get married, and when they have their own children.”

Benjamin Taylor, a member of the Dubai Jewish community and a Sharaka activist, said, “What I love about this holiday is mentioned as one of four types of New Year. It is moved overtime to something that is super relevant in today’s world.”

Israel event

Dan Feferman said, “Sharaka is thrilled to host tree-planting events in the various Abraham Accords countries on the Jewish holiday that celebrates trees and the environment. The UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Israel all place a special emphasis on tree-planting and the environment, which is exactly what this Jewish holiday of Tubishvat is all about. How fitting that while we are here in Israel, together with our partners from Jewish National Fund USA to plant the seeds for what will become trees later, Sharaka members are doing this simultaneously in the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco. We might not see these trees in the next few years – but we plant them for the generations to come. So with peace – we must work to plant the seeds now so our future generations will enjoy the fruits of peace. That is what the holiday and the Abraham Accords are all about.”

Yael Levontin said, “Jewish National Fund USA is proud to partner with Sharaka today at the ceremonial tree planting for peace at Neot Kedumim. Over the years, Jewish National Fund USA has planted over 260 million trees. We hope this will become a tradition for many years to come.”

Bahrain event

Fatema Al Harbi said, “Today we don’t only plant trees but also seeds of peace! We are glad to be part of this celebration, as we celebrate peace & raise awareness through it by taking a part by planting trees in our land.”

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Sharaka's mission is to build bonds between young Israeli and Gulf leaders, in order to strengthen peace, trust, and cooperation between our societies. We believe that this will lead to a brighter future for our nations and for all the peoples of the region.
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