A Tu Bishvat Table That Martha Stewart Would Be Proud Of!

A Tu Bishvat Table That Martha Stewart Would Be Proud Of!

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The holiday of Tu Bishvat (or Tu bishevat) always summoned to mind a couple of boring dried fruits on a paper plate given to us as ten year old kids in yeshivah. It wasn’t really very exciting, and I particularly remember almost breaking a baby tooth as we tried to bite off a bit of the dried black hard-as-a-rock carob boxer strip that was touted as a special new fruit by our teachers. Being one of the producers of The Sephardic Heritage Museum film project, I had the honor of interviewing over 300 community members, many of whom remember celebrating the exciting holiday of Tu Bishvat way back in Syria . I was astounded to hear that the now pandemonium holiday of Purim was a mere passing around of Syrian pastries like Samboosak and Graybeh to their neighbors, but Tu Bishvat or “Id Il Jar” (pronounced Eed El Jar- the holiday of trees) was the one holiday that the children and parents alike truly looked forward to. Every year, a month before the holiday, the moms started to sew luxe velvet bags with a drawstring that would soon contain exotic fruits that the children had never seen before. We take our pineapples, watermelons, and mangos for granted nowadays, but I doubt that there were carts in the souk in Aleppo that exhorted these wonderful sweet new treats. I was told that it would take the adults weeks to seek out and save these fruits to excite the children and keep the memories of the Tu Bishvat holiday alive.

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