A new year brings excitement for what can be. For the unknown. New beginnings. New possibilities. Renewed hope. I love Jewish holidays!

On Tu B’Shvat we have the opportunity to celebrate new life. After the rainy winter season, the trees will begin to blossom and show us all that they’ve been preparing for all winter long. Fresh, ripe, healthy, and delicious, the fruit will be ready to eat soon. The Shkaydia, almond, tree blossoms first in Israel bringing joy to all that see the beautiful white and pink flower petals.

I had the wonderful experience of tasting many dried fruits that were grown in Israel to welcome the New Year of the trees. One of my favorite stores, Pitzuchei Dani, has a tremendous variety of dried fruit without any added sugar. I couldn’t help but enjoy every bite bursting with flavor.

While I was in the store tasting all the flavorful fruit, my son was working the land planting trees with his friends. The New Year for the trees serves as a reminder of our connection to the Land of Israel. It teaches the next generation about the importance of taking care of the land that G-d has given us.

This also helps us appreciate what the land is producing in every season as not every type of produce is available year round. It took me a while to get used to not having every fruit readily available each time I make a beautiful Shabbat fruit platter. But I’ve learned to acclimate and adjust and my fruit platters always look beautiful and unique.

I hope when you visit Israel or even live in Israel, you will appreciate this wondrous, plentiful land that we all pray will always be blessed.

Wishing everyone a year ahead filled with flavor, spice, vibrancy, excitement, health and happiness.