“Tu Bishvat higia chag hailanot” is the popular Israeli children’s song, meaning, Tu Bishvat is here. This year the celebration began on Friday night.

On Tu Bishvat, the Jewish New Year of the Trees, it is traditional not only to plant trees but also to eat food from the seven species mentioned in Deuteronomy (wheat, barley, olives, pomegranate, figs, dates and grapes). Although they are not mentioned in the same verse, almonds also have a special significance for the holiday because they are one of the first trees to bloom in the spring in Israel and have the symbolism of fertility and rebirth.

Almond tree in blossom on Tu Bishvat.
Almond tree in blossom on Tu Bishvat.

This holiday celebrates the “rebirth” of the trees. Tu Bishvat marks the beginning of the slow process when the trees begin blossoming and flowering with new life and new fruit.

After inviting several guests I began planning my menu for our Tu Bishvat seder. My menu is as follows:

Persimmons and Pear Sangria

Orange, Red Onion and Olive Salad

Barley and Root Vegetable Soup

Jeweled Rice

Moroccan Chicken

Stuffed Grape Leaves

Maple Walnut Cake

After a few days, all my guests started to cancel their invitation due to colds. With only my MIL and hubby eating dinner I decided to minimize my meal. Out went the Sangria (no need to serve booze for non-drinkers.) and the Stuffed Grape Leaves (lot’s of work I didn’t want to do anyways). Then once my hubby looked at the menu he requested I change the Maple Walnut Cake for my great aunt’s Vered’s Date Cake.

Luckily, my MIL came early Friday afternoon to play with Sarah since I can no longer cook big meals with Sarah around.

Here are some pictures of the dishes I made for Tu Bishvat dinner.

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The next day was spent planting flowers with the family. Sure, hubby and I know this plant will not survive more than a month, but it’s the tradition that we want to teach Sarah.

20130130-203245.jpg20130130-203256.jpgDuring the week I taught Sarah the Israeli song Tu Bishvat higiya chag lailanot. Which she now constantly sings on her own :)

We also did arts and crafts one morning and made a tree. Sarah was so excited about her finished product that she couldn’t hold still for a picture.

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Now that Tu Bishvat is over, it’s time to plan for Purim!

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