Today is a special day on the Jewish calendar, it is Tu B'Shevat, quite simply the beginning of a new growth year for trees. Tu B'Shevat coincides with the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle. In most cases, the earliest blooming tree is the almond tree, who this year is right on time here in my neighborhood!
We mark the day of Tu B’Shevat by eating fruit, and especially grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. On the night of Tu B'Shevat (last night) many set a festive table with platters of dried and fresh fruit and nuts, and some embue the holiday with even greater meaning by participating in a Tu B'Shevat seder, originated by Jewish Kabbalists living in Israel in the 16th century.
I went on a walk yesterday in search of some blooming almond trees to share with you, and I was greatly surprised! It is truly a beautiful sight to see these delicate blooms dotting the hillsides when the green grass has just started to grow and most of the other trees are still bare.
Many of the almond trees in my neighborhood are hundreds of years old, and it's so exciting to see them awaken from their slumber!
Here you go, one last photo of the blooming trees and our gorgeous mountain view, namely Mt. Meron, the second largest mountain in Israel. Have a wonderful Tu B'Shevat!