There are some holidays you can never get tired of celebrating. There is the secular New Year (New Year’s Eve), the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana), and even a New Year for the Trees (Tu B’shevat) celebrated in Judaism. This is a welcome holiday, especially since we lost so many of our own beautiful trees right here in Queens during the Tornado (these things just don’t happen in Kansas anymore).
Even well before one ever thought the strongest part of a Tornado would hit just miles from the Grand Central Parkway, Jews have been celebrating the New Year of trees everywhere. Tu B’shevat literally means the 15th of Shevat on the Jewish calendar. This date coincides with the secular calendar on Thursday, January 20th. In the land of Israel, this is when certain trees come out of their winter hybernation and start bearing new fruits. The Jewish custom is to celebrate this new cycle of life by eating a delicious platter of fruit derived from trees in Israel: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. Not only are these trees numerous in Israel, they are mentioned repeatedly in the Torah (the overall body of Jewish religious teachings encompassing the whole body of Jewish law, practice and tradition). Many Jewish people host a Tu B’shevat Seder in their homes with large platters of these fruits, while other Jews use these fruits in their dinner menu and cook them with brisket or chicken. Delicious.
Even though we are many miles away from the land of Israel, you can find some great fruit platters to help celebrate this holiday at Aron’s Kissena Farms,7215 Kissena Blvd., Flushing, NY 11367. If you are looking for some tasty recipes to celebrate these beautiful fruits, check out kosher.com, joyofkosher.com, or koshereye.com.