Written and Illustrated by David J. Chernobylsky.
A Jew is like an Onion,
Storing its most precious belongings,
Its nutrients, its minerals—its knowledge and all,
In its home—in its bulb.
Over time, the bulb
Grows large and big
Full of precious life,
Saved throughout the Onion’s lifetime.
While its neighbors
Spend their energy
Growing thick, brightly-colored leaves,
And thin, out-reaching vines to clasp trees with,
The onion saves.
It saves, and saves—
For itself, for hard times, for its family;
Until—its bulb is pulled out of the soil,
And cut out!
Its body, roots and leaves and all,
Discarded, disgraced, dismantled—
But its life, its soul, its labor—
Cut out and eaten, the nutrients
And minerals passed on to the highest bidder.
But do not fret,
The onions tale is not, never forgotten.
For every slice, for every cut, into the bulb
A tear will be shed—A reminder of the labor, the love, the loss
Endured by the onion—by the Jew.
But never again, nevermore,
The Jew is like an onion,
And now its roots have taken hold,
Dug into the deep soil,
Of Canaan, of Zion.
As it once did before,
so many thousand years ago.
The roots have taken hold, and
Will never let go, fore
Israel is our home—the soil to our bulb—Forevermore!
“Tu B’Shevat, the 15th of Shevat on the Jewish calendar—celebrated this year on Wednesday, February 4, 2015—is the day that marks the beginning of a “new year” for trees. This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle” (Chabad.org). This holiday, adopted by the Zionist movement in the 1890’s, is one of the oldest environment-centered holidays ever established, and it promotes the planting of trees in the Land of Israel to bring new life to the Jewish Homeland. The Jewish National Fund was established in 1901 to oversee land afforestation in the Land of Israel.