Tu B’shevat- did we make aliyah or not?
Tu B’shevat has come, the holiday for the trees- the almond tree is blossoming- and we are eating dried fruit from Turkey. WHAT? That is not how the song goes. Tu B’shevat is not a well-celebrated holiday in chul- it is still generally very cold, nobody lives near an almond tree, and planting a tree in Cleveland/Cornwall/Capetown isn’t as exciting as planting in KKL forests. Some of us ate dried fruits (remember that carob/bokser?), some of us ate the seven species, but most of us rushed past the holiday to get ready for Purim and (gasp) Pesach.
This year is different. We are in Israel. The trees are flowering. The citrus is sweet and juicy. Youth groups are taking kids on tiyulim. Some of us even have a seder. But many of us are still eating those dried fruits from Turkey. WHY?? We now have access to beautiful locally produced fresh fruit that our ancestors could only dream about. They might even be growing in your yard! So why not eat them? For example, we will be having this big rimon that we found at Rami Levy:
We will also be having several “Sweeties”-a mix between a grapefruit and a pomelo- in my opinion, one of the best Israeli inventions of all time. Don’t forget other “ha’etz” Israeli products such as olives and top it off with a glass of Israeli wine.
If you find it incredibly difficult to break the dried fruit habit, at least look out for Israeli dried fruits, many of which are organic. We picked up these badatz dates in Rami Levy:
Kibbutz Neot Smadar also has organic produce such as apricots, almonds and raisins:
So whatever your minhag, whatever your hashgacha, Israeli fruits are the answer. I am probably writing this a little late to change your mind this year, but at least it will be food for thought for next Tu B’shevat. We were fortunate enough to make it to Israel- let’s not ignore what we have been blessed to receive.