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Tu B'Shvat is "The New Year For the Trees" and is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Shevat.

 

Tu B'Shvat happens on

 

January 28,  2002 Shevat 15,  5763

January 18,  2003 Shevat 15,  5764

Febuary  7,  2004 Shevat 15,  5765

 

Tu B'Shvat - Traditions

 

Tu B'Shvat is on the Fifteenth of the Hebrew month of Shevat and is the "New Year for the Trees" or Rosh Hashana La-ilanot. In Israel everything is green and it is the start of spring.

It is just the right time to plant trees. On the fifteenth (Tu in Hebrew) we plant trees which will grow strong and tall 

An ancient custom in Israel when a baby was born, the parents planted a tree in its honor. The tree was planted on Tu B'Shvat following the child's birth. If the baby was a boy, a cedar was planted. If the baby was a girl, a cypress was planted. As the children grew so did the trees. When children got married the wood from the trees built their chupah (wedding canopy). As the wood from the two trees were joined in the chupah so were the bride and groom in their marriage.

 

Many hundreds of years Tu B'Shvat has been celebrated throughout the world. Even when we had no homeland we still remembered and celebrated Tu B'Shvat. Although many could not plant trees because it was not spring during the fifteenth of Shevat where they lived, they ate the "fruit of the trees" and remembered. The fruits of the trees they ate were like those in Israel: almonds, dates, figs, raisins, and carob. It was considered a mitzva to eat these fruits during Tu B'Shvat and recite the blessings.

A modern tradition for people who live outside of Israel is to plant a tree in Israel by contributing to the Israel National Fund. They will plant a tree for you in Israel.

 

Tu B'Shvat  Seder

 

Background on the Tu B'Shvat Seder

 

In the 16th century, Sephardic Kabbalists [mystics] invigorated the holiday by composing a Tu B'Shvat seder, based upon the Pesach seder. (The Sephardic Jews originated from Spain). The Sephardic seder did not catch on among Ashkenazic Jews.

The Tu B'Shvat seder is loosely based on the Pesach seder. In particular, just like the Pesach [Passover] seder, there are four glasses of wine drunk during the seder. At the Tu B'Shvat seder, however, the color of the wine in each glass is varied. The first cup is all white wine; the second is mostly white mixed with some red; the third is mostly red mixed with some white; and the fourth is all red wine. Some substitute blush and rose for the middle two cups of wine as these are "mixed" colors already.

There are several variations on the seder for Tu B'Shvat, these vary according to tradition. The seder that we present is a combination of many of these and is an example

 

Tu B'Shvat  Seder

 

What you need for the Tu B'Shvat Seder

4 Glasses of wine or grape juice

    

White

Blush (white zinfandel)

Rose (cabernet blanc, or zinfandel)

Dark red (cabernet sauvignon, bordeaux or burgundy) 

  

15 kinds of fruits from Israel

Note these are just for illustration you can substitute your own 

  

Fruit with a hard outer shell

Almonds

Walnuts

Pecans

 

Fruit with an inner pit

Dates

Olives

Cherries

Plums

 

Fruit with an outer shell and inner pit

Carob

Avocado

Pomegranate

Orange

 

Fruit that is entirely edible

Figs

Raisins

Strawberries

Grapes

 

Wheat crackers

 

Nut cracker 

 

Song sheets for each person

 

Hagaddot for each person

 

If the gathering is small you can have a large center plate with all of the 15 different kinds of fruits, if it is large you may want to have individual plates for each person.

 

Tu B'Shvat   

 

Hagaddah Shel Tu B'Shvat

 

Leader

For a thousand years, the Jewish people lived in Israel, but for two thousand years Israel has lived in the people. Throughout our exile and wanderings, Israel has been the center of our lives.

Reader

When we pray, we face towards Jerusalem. During the Passover seder we call out "Next year in Jerusalem". We prayed for rain in Israel, and celebrated its harvest festivals. We mourned its destruction and wept over its devastation.

 

Reader

Our hope was to see the fulfillment of the biblical promise:

 

"and I will restore my people Israel and they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them, and they shall plant vineyards and drink the wine, they shall also make gardens and eat the fruit."  (Amos 9:14)

 

Reader

Today we come together to reaffirm our bon with the land of Israel and rejoice in its rebirth. Tu B'Shvat, Rosh Hashana La'Llanot marks the awakening of nature after its winter sleep. As we celebrate this seder, we renew our pledge to share in the rebuilding of Medinat Yisrael and make the desert bloom.

 

Reader

As we stand before HaShem on Rosh Hashanah to be judged, so, according to a legend, trees are judged on Tu B'Shvat.

 

THE FIFTEENTH OF SHEVAT

 

On the fifteenth of Shevat,

When the spring comes,

An angel descends, ledger in hand.

And enters each bud, each twig, each tree

And all our garden flowers.

From town to town, from village to village

He makes his winged way.

Searching the valleys, inspecting the hills,

Flying over the desert.

And returns to heaven.

And when the ledger will be full

Of trees and blossoms and shrubs,

When the desert is turned into a meadow

And all our land is a watered garden,

The Messiah will appear.

 

S. Shalom

 

Leader

Our first cup of wine is white, symbolizing winter. As we drink it we recall that nature has been dormant these many months, awaiting the warmth of the spring and the cycle of rebirth in the land.

 

Baruch Ata Adonai, Eloheynu Melekh haolam, boray pri hagafen.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe who creates the fruit of the vine. 

 

All

Repeat the blessing. Drink the first glass of wine.

 

Reader

The first kind of fruit we eat in honor of Tu B'Shvat is of the type which has an outer inedible shell - the almond. In Israel the almond tree blooms at this time. Its white blossoms tinged with pink brighten the countryside after the bleak grayness of winter. Israeli children have nicknamed it "The King of Tu B'Shvat". 

 

Baruch Ata Adonai, Eloheynu Melekh haolam, boray pri haetz.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe who creates the fruit of the tree.

 

Note: If this is the first time you have eaten an almond this season the following prayer is

said.

 

Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu melech ha-olam

she-hecheyanu, ve-kiyemanu, ve-higiyanu la-zeman ha-zeh.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has kept us alive, and has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this season.

 

All

Repeat the blessing. Eat the almonds.

 

Reader

We have drunk of the fruit of the vine, and eaten the fruit of the almond tree. Trees nourish us, and we enjoy the fruit of the trees that others have planted for us. As others have provided for us, we too, have the responsibility to provide for others.

 

Reader

The Talmud has a story in it that an old man was seen planting a carob tree as a king rode by. "Old man," the king called out, "How old are you?" The man replied, "Seventy years old your majesty.". "How long before that tree you are planting will bear fruit?" "About seventy years or so," the old man replied.  "Do you expect to eat the fruit of the tree you are planting?" the king asked. "Of course not your majesty. But just as I found fruit trees when I was born, I plant them for the future."

 

Reader

In Israel the Jewish National fund has been planting trees for about 100 years. It has made the desert bloom and turned the barren wastelands into forests. Jews from around the world have shared in the mitzvah by helping to plant trees in Israel. 

 

Leader

The Second cup of wine is filled)

Our second cup of wine is white, but tinged with red. It symbolizes the beginning of springtime and the earth's reawakening. In Israel, pink and white flowers bloom on the hills and mountains at this time of the year.

 

Baruch Ata Adonai, Eloheynu Melekh haolam, boray pri hagafen.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe who creates the fruit of the vine. 

 

All

Repeat the blessing and drink the wine.

 

Reader

The second type of fruit we eat in honor of Tu B'Shvat is on that has an inner pit which can not be eaten - the date. When the Torah spoke of "a land flowing with milk and honey," it referred to the honey from the date palm, tamar. The tamar is one of the trees which abound with blessing, for every part of it can be used. For this reason the rabbis compared the people of Israel to this tree.

 

Israel is like the date palm, of which none is wasted; its dates are for eating, its lulavim are for blessing; its fronds are for thatching; its fibers are for ropes; its webbing for sieves; its thick trunks for building - so it is with Israel, which contains no waste.

Bereshit Rabbah 41

 

Baruch Ata Adonai, Eloheynu Melekh haolam, boray pri haetz.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe who creates the fruit of the tree.

 

Note: If this is the first time you have eaten an date this season the following prayer is

said.

 

Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu melech ha-olam

she-hecheyanu, ve-kiyemanu, ve-higiyanu la-zeman ha-zeh.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has kept us alive, and has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this season.

 

All

Repeat the blessing and eat the dates.

 

Leader

Fill the third cup of wine

Our third cup of wine, mostly red, but with some white, represents the full arrival of spring. The red tulip and red buttercup spring up over the countryside of Israel. As spring arrives, the soil is warmed and softened.

 

Baruch Ata Adonai, Eloheynu Melekh haolam, boray pri hagafen.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe who creates the fruit of the vine. 

 

All

Repeat the blessing and dink the third cup.

 

Reader

The third type of fruit we eat in honor of Tu B'Shvat has both an inner pit and a hard outer skin that can not be eaten - the avocado.

 

Baruch Ata Adonai, Eloheynu Melekh haolam, boray pri haetz.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe who creates the fruit of the tree.

 

Note: If this is the first time you have eaten an avocado this season the following prayer is said.

 

Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu melech ha-olam

she-hecheyanu, ve-kiyemanu, ve-higiyanu la-zeman ha-zeh.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has kept us alive, and has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this season.

 

Reader

In the book of Bereshit we read:

 

And God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit trees yielding fruit after its kind, whose seed is on the earth," and it was so.

And  the earth blossomed with grass, herbs and trees, and God saw that it was good.

Bereshit 1:9-13

 

HaShem has created the trees for us and it is our obligation to uphold and preserve them for the future.

 

Leader

The Torah characterizes the land of Israel as being blessed with seven kinds of food.

 

A land of wheat and barley, of grape vines, figs and pomegranates, a land of olives and honey.

 

We have had wine and fruit. Let us taste of wheat.

The wheat crackers are given out.

 

Barukh Ata Adonai, Eloheynu Melekh haolam, boray minay m'zonot.

Praised are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe who creates various kinds of foods.

 

All

Repeat the blessing and eat the crackers.

 

Leader

The fourth cup of wine is poured.

Our fourth cup of wine is completely red, symbolizing the full glow of summer. the crops are growing and the flowers are in full bloom. In the coming months HaShem will bless the land and it will yield many varieties of fruit and produce to sustain and delight us.

 

Baruch Ata Adonai, Eloheynu Melekh haolam, boray pri hagafen.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe who creates the fruit of the vine. 

 

All

Repeat the blessing and drink the wine.

 

Reader

 The fourth fruit we eat in honor of Tu B'Shvat is one that can be entirely eaten  - the raisin. The raisin is a dried grape and is the fruit of the vine.

 

Baruch Ata Adonai, Eloheynu Melekh haolam, boray pri hagafen.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe who creates the fruit of the vine. 

 

Reader

Everyone will sit under their vine and fig tree and none shall make them afraid; for the Lord of Hosts has spoken.

Micah 4:4

 

All

May it be your will Adonai that through our eating of the fruits which have been blessed, that the trees of Israel will renew themselves blossoming and growing. 

We pray that this seder celebration of Tu B'Shvat will inspire us with a deeper sensitivity to the natural gifts you have given us to tend. 

 

We give thanks to you Adonai who has given us the trees and their fruit.

 

Leshanah Haba'ah B'Yerushalayim!

Next Year In Jerusalem!

 

 

 

APRICOT OAT- NUT SNACK MIX FOR TU B'SHVAT

Yield: approximately 20 servings

 

3 cups rolled oats

2 cups oat bran

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 cup walnut halves, broken

1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

5 Tbls oil

3/4 cup honey, melted

1 1/3 cup dried apricots, quartered (one- 6 oz. bag)

3/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven 325. In large bowl, combine rolled oats and next 6 ingredients, toss well. Drizzle oil over mixture and toss until coated, mixture should be clumpy. Divide mixture onto two cookie sheets, spreading evenly. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven, stir with wooden spoon, mixing thoroughly. Continue to bake 30 minutes more, stirring every 10 minutes. Return snack mix to bowl; add dried fruits. Toss gently and cool. Can be stored for 2 weeks in airtight containers or frozen up to 2 months.

 

 

 

TU BESHVAT DATE-NUT SQUARES

1 pkg chopped dates (1- 1/2 cups)

3/4 cup boiling water

1/2 cup shortening or oil

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 1/3 cups flour

1 tsp cocoa

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup chopped nuts

Mix 1 pkg. chopped pitted dates (1- 1/2 cups) and 3/4 boiling water in a small bowl. Let it cool. Mix 1/2 cup shortening or oil, 2 eggs and 1 t. vanilla until light fluffy looking. Mix 1- 1/3 c. sugar, 1- 1/3 c. flour, 1 t. cocoa, 1 t. baking soda, and 1/4 t. salt together. Add to batter alternately with date mush. Spoon into a greased 9 x 13- inch baking pan. Sprinkle top with 3/4 c. chopped nuts. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes. Let cool, remove from pan. Put 1/2 c. confectioners sugar into a wire colander and sift over the cake. Cut into squares.

 

 

TU B'SHEVAT FRUITCAKE

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs

1 cup dried fruit

1 cup mixed nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc. (peanuts not recommended)

Mix it all. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until brown. Stick a toothpick in center to check. If it comes out clean, your cake is cake.

 

NOTE: Baking time and specific types of dried fruit were not listed

 

 

TU B' SHVAT FRUITCAKE II

 

Yield: 8 servings

 

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup sifted flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

1 cup dried fruit

1 cup mixed nuts: almonds, macadamias, walnuts, pecans, etc.

1. Mix all ingredients together.

 

2. Put in a greased loaf pan.

 

3. Bake at 350 degrees F preheated oven until brown.

 

4. Stick a toothpick in the center to check if the cake is done. If it comes out clean, you can let it cool, then enjoy!

 

 

TU BISHVAT FRUIT SALAD

 

Yield: serves 4

 

5 oranges (4 regular and 1 for juice)

4 bananas

5 dates

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup sugar

This recipe is from my sixth grade home ec. class in Petah Tiqva. It is a favourite winter time recipe (when there are plenty of oranges and bananas)

 

Peel and slice 4 oranges into triangles. Slice bananas into rounds. Remove the pit from the dates and slice crosswise (look like squares). Prepare juice from one orange.

 

Place the sliced oranges into a bowl, add bananas on top of them then the dates, raisins and sugar. Pour orange juice over it and mix. Serve cold.

 

NOTE: the recipe can be easily multiplied to any amount you want, just keep the proportions.

 

 

Date and Nut Pudding

For 6-8 people

 

1 2/3 cup dates, pitted and diced

1/2 cup walnut halves

1/3 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs

1 tbsp sugar

For dairy version: whipped cream

 

1.Preheat the oven to 325 F/170 C. Grease a 9 in./23 cm square baking dish.

2.In a bowl, combine the dates, walnuts, flour, baking powder and salt.

3.Beat the eggs with the sugar in a small bowl. Add to the date mixture and mix well.

4.Pour the mixture into the baking dish and bake for 40 minutes.

5.Serve warm with whipped cream.

 

Tu B'Shvat Fruitcake

Serves 8

 

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup sifted flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

1 cup dried fruit

1 cup mixed nuts: almonds, macadamias, walnuts, pecans, etc.

 

1.Mix all ingredients together.

2.Put in a greased loaf pan.

3.Bake at 350 degrees preheated oven until brown.

4.Stick a toothpick in the center to check if the cake is done. If it comes out clean, you can let it cool, then enjoy!

This recipe is courtesy of MILAH, ulpan Yerushalayim.

 

Raisin Relish

Makes about 12 oz

 

3/4 cup plump raisins

1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp mustard seeds

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

 

1.Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender and process until finely chopped.

2.Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

 

Tu B'Shvat Fruity Chicken

Serves 4-6

 

1 large onion

1 tbsp oil

1 chicken, quartered

1/4 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup apricot jam

1 cup orange juice

juice of one lemon

2 cups chicken broth or water

1 cup prunes, pitted

1 cup dried apricots

1 cup roasted, unsalted almonds (1/2 cup chopped coarsely; 1/2 cup whole)

salt and pepper to taste

 

1.Chop the onion. Saute in large pot with oil until soft, but not browned.

2.Remove skin and fat from chicken. While onion is cooking, mix ginger and cinnamon and sprinkle on chicken pieces.

3.When onion is finished, place chicken in the pot, and brown on all sides.

4.Add all other ingredients, but reserve the 1/2 cup whole almonds for a garnish.

5.Cook over a low flame for at least 40 minutes, keeping an eye open to make sure there is enough liquid. Add more broth if necessary.

6.Add salt and pepper to taste.

7.Serve with rice and garnish with remaining almonds.

 

Variation: Skip the almonds and add different dried fruit, such as pears, cherries, or currants. Also works well with dried apples, if you also substitute the orange juice for apple juice. This also works well with beef. Just cook longer, and don't brown the meat in the beginning.

 

 

Preserved Figs

This is an interesting way to enjoy fresh figs.

 

1 lb/1/2 kl fresh figs

1 lb/1/2 kl sugar

2 cups apple cider or rasberry vinegar

2 tbsps whole spices, such as cloves,

cinamon, nutmeg, cardomon

3 or 4 black peppercorns

1/4 tsp powdered ginger

 

1.Wash figs.

2.Boil vinegar, sugar and spices briefly in a pot.

3.Add the figs and cook on a low flame until the fruit is soft (about 15 minutes).

4.Remove just the fruit and place in a canning jar, if available. If not a regular jar is fine.

5.If the mixture is thin, boil until it thickens. Pour over the figs in the jar and seal tightly.

6.If it is not hermetically sealed (as in a canning jar), then refrigerate. Allow for at least a week to pass for optimum taste.

 

Chicken Rimonim

Serves 4-6

 

1 chicken, cut into eighths

juice of 2 pomegranates

seeds of 1 pomegranate

1 onion, diced

2 tbsp of margarine

2 tbsp flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)

2 cups chicken soup

 

1.Soak chicken pieces in the pomegranate juice for half an hour.

2.Mix the flour, salt, pepper and caraway seeds together. Dredge the chicken pieces in the mixture. Reserve the pomegranate juice.

3.Fry the coated chicken pieces in margarine. Add the diced onion, and continue to fry.

4.When the chicken has been well-browned, add the pomegranate juice, and cook on a low flame for 20 minutes. Add the pomegranate seeds before serving.

 

 

 

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