Tu Bi’Shevat: Happy Birthday, Trees!

(CC image via Wikimedia)
An olive tree, “Olea europaea subsp europaea” (CC image via Wikimedia)

On February 4th of this year, Jews all over the world will eat fruit. Usually it is dried fruit, such as dried apples or pineapple, sometimes even dates, figs, or dried pear. Many purchase carob, known as bokser in Yiddish. My personal favorite was always the bright orange dried papaya. We didn’t really eat it otherwise and it tasted the best out of all the options in the little “pekeleh” (package) that we would get in school.  I never really liked the carob; it was always so dry and chewy, kind of like fruit jerky. But there we were, in the middle of winter, eating dried fruit to celebrate the birthday of the trees, as it says in the folk song we learned: “Tu B’Shevat Higiah, Chag La’Ilanot” (The fifteenth day of the month of Shevat has come, birthday (or holiday) of the trees).  Continue reading