"I've noticed that quite a lot of people who are prominent in the animal liberation movement are Jews. Maybe we are simply not prepared to see the powerful hurting the weak." --Peter Singer (Author, Animal Liberation)


A Tale of Two Tu B'Shvats

Today, I attended a Tu B'Shvat seder at my shul. The crowd didn't seem to know too much about the holiday, and in what the rabbi called an easy yet ironic move, turkey sandwiches were served. The PB&J alternative and all the fruits, nuts, and seeds were great. However, it seemed like my favorite holiday was a much bigger deal to me, my friend David (who took the day off from work), and my friend Anna (who was happy to be there with her daughter for "Miss Baby's" first Tu B'Shvat) than to most people in the room. For all the "order" and convention (not that the turkey was conventional for this holiday) of the shul seder, I was happy I got to do things on my own terms last night.

Last night, I (with a lot of help from my wonderful girlfriend, Eva) hosted 10 people for the Tu B'Shvat Disorder! '08. This wasn't quite a seder. We didn't explain the significance of each part of the meal. And we probably could've been a lot more religiously observant without sacrificing our punk rock* DIY ethic. But by golly, the meal was all vegan and with lots of variety, just the way a Tu B'Shvat celebration should be.

The festivities began with the traditional Opening of the Coconut. This tradition began two years ago with the first Tu B'Shvat dinner I organized, when we had trouble opening the coconut. Last year, we were all looking forward to giving it a go again, and one friend's struggle to open the coconut was quite memorable. This year, David succeeded with an easy-open coconut rather quickly. The two coconut halves were scooped out by two brothers, who donned kippot for the ritual.

With my "Horacore" mix (featuring Yidcore, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Zydepunks, Golem, Vulgar Bulgars, Rootwater, and a techno version of "Hava Nagila") playing in the background, we gathered at the table to feast. This year's beautiful array of food included coconut, horned melon, persimmons, pineapple, uglifruit, honeydew, cantaloupe, bananas, grapes, apples, peaches, tangerines, olives, starfruit, figs, dates, cherries, blueberries, kiwis, pistachios, almonds, pine nuts, cashews, walnuts, filberts, and Brazil nuts. We also had two different types of Baron Herzog wine, per The Jew & The Carrot's Kosher Organic Wine List.

Last night, as my body screamed out "This isn't a meal! You shouldn't eat this much fruit," I started to question whether I still appreciated Tu B'Shvat. It wasn't until I saw the turkey slices at my shul that I began appreciating the environmental (and vegetarian) values that are supposed to be at the center of Tu B'Shvat. Through a combination of seder and disorder, I came to adore my favorite holiday once again.

*Eva contends that my gathering wasn't all that punk.


  • At 1/22/2008 10:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You left out the part about how I ate dinner before last night's seder, a couple of falafel sandwiches. (The vegan that I am, I've never been much the fruit fan. And I learned after the last two years to not go to one of these things hungry!) And that I also had one before today's seder. (You know, they say that you should always eat fresh fruits or veggies before a meal because it'll help with the digestion process. Being that I may have been the only person without a 'gastric' situation after either seder, I think that the counteracting properties of the oily falafel and fresh fruits worked quite nicely with one another!)

  • At 1/25/2008 2:51 AM, Blogger Omar Cruz said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 1/31/2008 1:04 AM, Blogger Fairion said…

    Thank you! I am glad to hear someone else really enjoying and celebrating the holiday. It is one of my favorites as well.

  • At 1/29/2010 10:50 PM, Anonymous David said…

    I don't think I'd taken the whole day off from work, I think just a long lunch? :)


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