Jerusalem: Trees This Tu Bishvat

Jerusalem: Trees This Tu Bishvat

When we were young in the US,  Tu Bishvat meant a bit of bukser,  dried black carob pods, which were nearly impossible to chew.

image Israel tu beshvat, photo for Tu Bshvat , picture trees planted

Celebrating in Jerusalem is so very different and so much more tasty and colorful. 

Reuven and Nechama Rivlin Tu B'Shevat sedar at BEit Hanasi for One Family and agriculture growers

In past years, President Rivlin hosted Tu Bishvat seders, but he is in Greece this year, being hosted by the Greeks in presidential-style receptions.

Israel Knesset building flags, no people

Tu Bishvat  is also the date the Knesset opened in 1949. For the 50th year in present location, Tu Bishvat was celebrated in big way.

Parks and planting were my themes last year. 

View of Teddy Park with wall of old city

Teddy Park was lovely today, the fountain was going as two young men took photos.

In Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, renovations are slowly being revealed. I hope that in addition to these new cement tables and benches more trees will be planted, many were lost in snowstorms.

My dilemma was: what can be new this year, other than the using a different English spelling for ט”ו בשבט, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat?

Tu Bishvat dried fruit at night outside shop for sale

Outside on the streets, dried fruits and nuts were on display well into the night before the holiday.

Fruit decorated baked goods in shop window before Tu Beshvat

Fresh fruits top these luscious baked goods displayed in one cafe window.

Almond tree blooming in Jerusalem, Israel, in Valley of Cross for Tu Beshvat

With the warm and wet winter, almond trees were in bloom in time for Tu Bishvat this year.

Then this morning a friend wrote of a deadly threat to Jerusalem’s towering palm trees. The red palm beetle, a native of the Far East, has come here from Jordan and attacked our palm trees.

View of Palm trees at Belgium Embassy

I had noticed that the palm trees by the Belgium Consulate were cut back drastically.

Yemin Moshe trees Jerusalem Israel

It was a bright sunny day, so I set off to see for myself. There were dead leaves hanging on these palm trees in Yemin Moshe.

French Hospital in Jerusalem, Israel palm leaves brown

The palm trees in front of the old French Hospital did not look healthy.

US flag on City Hall in Kikar Safra

Last month when I was in Kikar Safra, Safra Square, I took this photo of the large flags on display. I noticed the palm trees at the other end of the plaza were surrounded by blue barriers used for crowd control. Now I regret not taking a photo.

Those towering trees were taken down in the middle of the night, after a diseased one fell.

Kikar Safra all palm trees cut down Jerusalem Israel

Today men are finishing up their work and removing the stumps.

Sawdust from palm tree stumps in Kikar Safra

The last of the stumps of the towering palm trees is being ground into saw dust.

Kikar Safra after diseased palm trees removed

Kikar Safra plaza is filled with wood chips, where the palm trees once towered overhead.

Jerusalem Old City from Jaffa Gate to Kikar Safra protected tree

The walking path from Kikar Safra toward Jaffa Gate has a palm tree protected by a fence, and the sidewalk is built around it. Trees are important enough to build around them.

Even before the State of Israel was founded, trees have been important. The JNF, the Jewish National Fund, raised money to plant trees to make the barren land green.

Tu Bishvat is called the New Year for Trees. This year we will need a lot of new trees to replace those that were lost.

But on this happy holiday, I can not end on such a sad note. It was a beautiful day to be outside. All around Israel, people are planting new trees.

Tu Beshevat almond blossoms Jerusalem Israel

The almond trees are blooming. The sun was shining after days of rain. I met friendly tourists from South Africa who assured me that South Africans really do like Israel.

So Happy Tu Bishvat!

I am going to eat some dates, this year they were plentiful and inexpensive, so we got a big box.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov

The New Year holiday season is over,

and a new month begins.

On the Jerusalem, Israel streets

you can see and feel the changing seasons.

I had trouble deciding on one Shabbat Shalom

and Chodesh Tov photo.

The suffganiot, Chanukah donuts are out!

But the steps of Yemin Moshe are always beautiful.

Steps in Yemin Moshe Jerusalem Israel

From Jerusalem, Israel,

שבת שלום

Shabbat Shalom

חודש טוב

Chodesh Tov

Sukkot Surprise in Jerusalem

Sukkot Surprise in Jerusalem

The Bible Marathon was held October 6.

People raced from Rosh Ha’ayin to site of ancient Shilo,

a distance of 42 kilometers, a full marathon track.

I did not have time to go,

I was on a personal marathon,

racing through a packed holiday season.

So much happening in Jerusalem,

it is really hard to keep up.

For the first day of Sukkot lunch, we were 22 people,

from US, Mexico, USSR, Australia, France, South Africa

Table ready in sukkah for meal

and more, all gathered in our sukkah for a meal.

Amazing if you take time stop and think about it.

President Rivlin honored a long-time tradition

Beit Hanasi on sukkot ready for public

and opened the gates of Beit Hanasi,

the Israeli President’s official residence, to the public.

As usual the Presidential sukkah featured

Israeli grown agricultural products,

Sukka Beit hanasi on Sukkot 5778 map with flowers and fruit of Israel

this year a map of world was unusual and special.

From Beit Hanasi in the morning,

I had planned on walking into town to attend a bar mitzvah.

But also special on that day, was the weather.

Sure they had called for rain in the morning.

But first rain usually is a few drops of wet dirt.

But, surprise!

Thankfully, I made it to a bus stop,

before the heavens opened up.

Below is one of several videos,

in case you think I am overstating.

I made it to the bar mitzvah.

It had moved inside from the sukkah,

but cleared enough to come out again for dessert.

So much more, but for now here is

Happy Holiday sign at Israeli President's house on Sukkot 5778 - 70 years.

one special photo from Beit Hanasi Sukkah Open House

“Happy Holiday”

Check back next week for holiday highlights,

Jerusalem March, Kites at Israel Museum, sukkot, etc.

Now back to kitchen to prepare for end of holiday week.

חג שמח