Gluten Free Tu B’shevat

What is Tu B’shevat you ask? Why it is the holiday of trees established by the Talmudic rabbis sometime between the 3rd to 5th century –the early part of the Middle Ages.

As the daughter of liberal Jewish activists (my parents met at a civil rights meeting in the 1960’s) I’ve always been really into this holiday which is described by wikipedia as follows:

Tu Bishvat is considered by secular Israeli Jews and organizations to be the Jewish equivalent of Arbor Day…Ecological organizations in Israel and the diaspora have adopted the holiday to further environmental-awareness programs.

I remember the rituals of Tu B’shevat growing up –to celebrate my family planted trees. Additionally, I have a very personal connection to this holiday. According to the website Think Baby Names:

Elana e-la-na as a girl’s name is pronounced ee-LAHN-ah. It is of Hebrew origin, and the meaning of Elana is “tree”.

Here’s more on Tu Bishvat from

An annual new year for trees was established by Talmudic rabbis so that Jews could calculate the age of trees and know when they could be harvested. Jews celebrate Tu B’Shvat by serving dishes containing fruit mentioned in the Bible either for a regular meal or for a Tu B’Shvat Seder ceremony.

When I saw my Rabbi today he had many interesting ideas to share with me about Tu B’Shevat. According to Rabbi Gavriel, the words that make up the name of this holiday have a simple relevance. The celebration falls during the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat. The Hebrew letters “tuf” and “vuv” make up the numbers 6 and 9 which add up to 15 –are you still following this?!

He further explained to me that this holiday is not the New Year of the Trees, it is the New Year of the Tree, and it is thought that the reference to “tree” could be a mystical reference to the Tree of Life. For more fascinating information of this type, you can take a look at my Rabbi’s column. He provides further detail on this wonderful holiday we call  Rosh Hashanah Ilan or Tu B’Shevat.

On this Jewish holiday, it is customary to serve dishes made up of fruit –in season in the warm Middle East during this time of year. Here are some of the foods that we eat on Tu B’shevat:

According to wikipedia, Tu Bishvat (Hebrew: ??? ?????) is a minor Jewish holiday. This year, it will fall upon the dusk of February 7 through the dusk of February 8, 2012. Generally, Tu Bishvat falls on the second full moon before Passover, or, in a leap year, the third full moon before Passover.


23 responses to “Gluten Free Tu B’shevat”

  1. Hi Elana – I LOVE Tu B’Shevat – each year, I look forward to attending a Tu B’Shevat seder where I get to feast on lots of gluten free dried fruits and nuts. It’s one of the Jewish holidays where I can participate and eat safely during the ritual meal.

  2. I’ve been reading your blog for almost a year now and have to tell you that my life has really changed – I had cut out grains and refined sugars from my diet and your blog and recipes have made my life so much sweeter and easier.

    I think that this upcoming Tu B’shvat, which celebrates the amazing almond tree is a great time to thank you for helping me stay healthy and still eat all the delicious almond flour treats!

    As a side note, Tu B’shvat is celebrated at our home by eating as many varieties of fruit we can procure – sometimes over 30 types.

    Thanks again Elana!

  3. Thanks, Elana. This may be a minor holiday, but trees are big! Lovely images come to mind, including that Tree of Life. How delightful to be named for trees.

  4. Thanks for the TU B’Shvat – plug — It has always been one of my favorite holidays — and signals that Purim then Passover are not far behind. In the Northeast – it helps me think about spring and that it will be coming before we know it

  5. Happy Tu b’Shvat Elana! My kids are singing “tu b’Shvat yegiyah hag ha ilanot” already. We make fruit leather in the dehydrator, new fruits and stuffed dates, put a pecan in the date drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with coconut- absolutely fabulous. That ones from my Yemeni neighbor.

  6. Happy Name sake day to you Elana… hee hee. We will be celebrating by planting many trees. We’ve added almost 15 to our yard. All fruit, either stone or citrus. All good for sugar free jams and juices.

    My son’s favorite Shalom Sesame video is about Tu B’shevat.

    In honor of the holiday, I have been making several versions of your recipe for Apricot Bars.

    Thank you for sharing the words of your rabbi with everyone.

  7. Elana, I think it’s really sweet that you are sharing the beautiful meaning of Tu B’shevat with your readers. I am Jewish as well, conservative, but this is just not one of the holidays I tend to share a lot about it (on the other hand, I’m really passionate about sukkot and the idea of celebrating the local harvest!) Anyway, I’m just really glad to see this here, so many people learn from you :)

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