Coming a month and a half before the spring equinox and two months before Passover, Tu BiShvat provides a glimmer of springtime at a time when winter can often be at its cruelest.
One favorite dish of the Ashkenazim that survived the move from the shtetl to North America was the hearty mushroom-potato-barley soup called krupnick.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that it can be difficult to be Jewish at Christmas time. It has seeped into North American cultural consciousness so thoroughly that South Park even wrote a song about it, complete with trademark expletives.
Literally, “four species.” The Torah specifies four species to bring together on Sukkot. The four species are: lulav (branches of palm trees), etrog (citron), hadasim (myrtle branches), and aravot (willows) (Leviticus 23:40).