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January 24, 1986 - Image 74

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-01-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

74 Friday, January 24, 1986

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

w

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1

Fruity Holiday Goodies

BY GLORIA KAUFER GREENE

8554633






COOKING

The 15th day of the Hebrew
month of Shevat — abbreviated
as Tu b'Shevat — gained holi-
day status in talmudic times
and eventually became cele-
brated as a minor festival.
In ancient Israel, this "birth-
day" for trees was used for re-
ckoning agricultural tithing. It
is also traditionally considered
the day each year when trees
are divinely judged, just a
people are judged during the
Days of Awe.
In the Diaspora, Tu b'Shevat
lost its concrete agricultural tie
with the Land of Israel, but re-
tained a spiritual connection.
Thus came about the custom of
eating fruits and nuts associated
with ancient Israel.
Because in most of the Dias-
pora, it was impossible to have
fresh fruit of this type, dried
fruit became traditional. The
hearty cried carob pod — or
bother, as it is called in Yiddish
— was a particularly popular
holiday treat in Eastern Europe.
Kabbalists, who have always
delved deeply into the mysteries
of Judaism looking for special
symbolism, determined other
reasons to eat fruit on this holi-
day.
According
to
Michael
Strassfeld in his book The

year happens to be the same
day. One explanation for the
custom is that bird song is con-
stantly praising God. And, of
course, birds dwell in trees.
With our current weather so
inhospitable to birds, it would
be very considerate to ob§erve
this custom. And, it's lots of fun
to make some holiday bird feed-
ers with your children or grand-
children. The simplest and best
feeder begins with a very large
pine cone.
First, thickly spread the out-
Jewish Holidays: A Guide and side of the pine cone with
Commentary (Harper and Row), peanut butter; then roll it in
the kabbalists believed that sunflower seeds or mixed wild
trees were a symbol of humans, bird seed. Tie a string to the
and that eating a variety of top, and hang the feeder from a
fruits on Tu b'Shevat was a way tree branch or deck. In past
of improving our spiritual selves years, both my young sons have
and expiating the first sin of made these to the delight of our
eating fruit from the Tree of feathered friends.
Knowledge in the Garden of
Eden. They also thought that all DELECTABLE
trees were symbolic of the Tree DATE-WALNUT BARS
of Life, which carries divine
3 large eggs
blessing into the world.
Sixteenth Century kabbalists 1/2 cup sugar
in Safed developed a Tu 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
b'Shevat ritual or Seder which v, cup all-purpose flour
involves drinking four cups of 11/2 to 2 cups chopped pitted
dates (about 8 to 12
different wines and partaking of
ounces)
many varied fruits and nuts.
With Tu b'Sheyat practically 2 cups chopped walnuts•(ab-
out 8 ounces)
upon us, it is probably too late
to plan a Seder for this year. Sifted confectioner's sugar
(optional)
However, you can still celebrate
the holiday by including an as-
In a medium-sized bowl, beat
sortment of dried fruits and nuts
— such as dates, figs, raisins, the eggs with the sugar and
prunes, apricots, almonds and vanilla until thick and light.
walnuts — on your Shabbat Stir in the flour, then the dates
dinner table. As these foods and walnuts. Spread the mix-
freeze exceptionally well, I al- ture (it will be very thick) in a
ways keep a supply on hand in greased or nonstick spray-coated
my freezer, ready to pull out for 9-inch square, pan. Bake in a
an impromptu snack or to turn preheated 350-degree oven for
about 30 minutes or until a
into dessert.
One favorite follows below -- toothpick inserted' in the center
the Delectable Date-Walnut Bars comes out clean. Cool in the pan
are so quick and easy that you on a rack until lukeWarm; then
may still have time to prepare cut into 16 squares, and remove
them before Shabbat (and Tu the squares from the pan to cool
completely. If desired, sprinkle
b'Shevat) begins.
As for the main course, you the tops with sifted confec-
might want to try the Chicken tioner's sugar just before serv-
and Dried Fruit' Pilaf. A tasty ing.
accompaniment might be the ' Makes 16 bars.
quick Whole Wheat Date-Nut
Muffins; extras would be perfect CHICKEN AND DRIED
for Tu b'Shevat breakfast.
FRUIT PILAF
Another holiday custom that
(NOTE: For a side-dish, simply
Strassfeld mentions in his book omit the chicken from this recipe.)
is the feeding of birds on Shab-
bat Shirah — the Sabbath of 3 tbsps. vegetable oil
Song`Praise — which usually oc- 1 large onion, finely chopped
curs near Tu b'Shevat, but this 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced

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