Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tu BiShevat

Last year, I vowed to host a Tu BiShevat seder this year.

I didn't. It just didn't seem right hosting a holiday gathering
before my conversion. My guests wouldn't have been Jewish, so I'd have
had to explain everything, and it felt wrong to knowingly put myself
in that position. I would have been representing myself as a Jew when
I am not quite Jewish yet.

However, I did make a special dish for dinner. Or, as it happens, a
side dish.

I got to thinking about the traditional foods to eat on Tu BiShevat:
dried fruits, nuts, wine. And I got to thinking about a seder, and
when I put the two together, it seemed natural to make a haroset.

On myjewishlearning.com, I found several recipies for haroset. One in
paticular stood out to me for this occasion, the Italian haroset. His
may be partly because my family has Italian background, but it was
also because of the ingredients.

I like the apples and the pears. The texture is great for haroset, and
since they are tree fruits, they fit right in on the new year for the

As I mentioned earlier, dried fruits are traditional (no wonder I love
this holiday), but this recipe included an especially symbolic one:
the date. It is one of the seven species, and I read something about
it being significant for Tu BiShevat, but I don't recall where. The
recipe also called for raisins and prunes.

Now for the nuts. These were a big part of why I hose this haroset.
Most recipes that I've seen use walnuts, but this one does not. It
calls for almonds and pine nuts. Almonds are very traditional for Tu
BiShevat, because the almond trees are in bloom in Israel this time of
year. I appreciate the pine nuts, because they are from my favorite
type of tree, and it felt good to honor them on this day as well, even
if they're not commonly thought of as a food source.

Other ingredients that had significance to me as I added them to the
pot were the wine and the honey. The wine, because it called to mind
the joy and rest of Shabbat (I used my leftovers from this weekend).
The honey, because it reminded me of the last time I mixed apples and
honey: Rosh HaShana, another new year.

It's very delicious, which is good, because it was a large recipe. I
originally served it with turkey breast. I'm eating leftovers now like
applesauce. Both are tasty ways to go. I may even use it to stuff a
chicken breast later. We'll see. But mostly, I wanted to share.

I hope your Tu BiShevat was a lovely one. Remember, it represents the
beginning of spring which brings renewal and, most importantly, more

1 comment:

Zohara bat Sarah said...

Oh, I wish I had known and I would have told you it's ok to host things before you are official!!! But if you are not comfortable, you will be soon. We have to catch up, soon, too.