Tu B’Shevat, otherwise known as Rosh Hashana for the trees, is a holiday that emphasizes our connection with the land. And what better land to emphasize than the Holy Land?

Many have adopted the Kabbalistic tradition of celebrating Tu BShvat with a Seder, so allow me to enrich your Tu B’shvat seder by presenting you with some praises of Israel: the food, the inventions, the people, and I even threw in some questions for the holiday so you can engage the children. It’s all about the children.

Israel found a way to put something in hot water for 25 hours that will not become soggy – the Shkeidei Marak soup nut.

Land of Brilliant Inventions

All people fight the boycotts of Israel by mentioning Intel. That doesn’t stop the anti-Semites. You have to hit them where it hurts. Israel invented Shkeidei Marak (soup nuts). Israel found a way to put something in hot water for 25 hours that will not become soggy. Let it be known, ‘Boycott Israel and do not enjoy your soup.’

While enjoying your vegetable soup, with some fruit, this Tu B’Shevat, add in some soup nuts, enjoy yourself and put on some weight even while going vegetarian.

Land of Happiness Brought to You By The Na Nachs

In other countries, you cannot get out of your car in the middle of the road and start dancing. Here in Israel, it seems to be encouraged.

There is no greater form of happiness other than that shown by the official Israeli jump dance. The Israeli Jump Dance, hopping on one foot and then the other with no sense of embarrassment, may be seen at weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, protests, and by Na Nachs everywhere.

To understand what Na Nachs are, just think Hasiddim but really happy. Like, happier than is allowable by law.

Land of The Bible

Here, you can feel the connection to history. I even had the chance to visit the Biblical Zoo the other day, where I was able to see all the Biblical animals, such as penguins. There were also Biblical kangaroos.

History is all around us. All looks ancient in Israel. My landlord hasn’t redone my apartment in 60 years.

In Jerusalem, I ran into somebody who told me he was Joshua of the Bible. I ended up giving him a 5 shekel coin. He seemed quite surprised. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed with his prophetic abilities. As I told him, ‘You should have seen it coming.” I myself am not a prophet. Even so, I can foresee that if you do not have a job, you are not going to make money.

Land of Sportsmanship

We have a beautiful sport called Matkot, played only in Israel, with two rackets and no net, and no winner. The objective of the game, as I learned while not participating, is to take a little ball and to hit people who are taking a leisurely walk down the beach.

Israel Celebrates Nature

We have a whole holiday to celebrate dried fruit. Most people throw out their fruit once it withers. We make it festive. At the time that fruit goes bad, we give it that extra few days. That is when we eat it. How about that PETA?

People Care- Not Just A Country

I have been set up by women who didn’t even know me. I do not know how they knew I was single. It might have been the smile on my face. Most recently, a matchmaker who set me up on a date didn’t even see my face. We were standing in line at a cash machine. She saw my balance and knew I was good for her niece. I said I didn’t want to go on a date with a stranger. And as any good Jewish mother, she told me that I needed to, as I am old and extremely desperate, and I wasn’t going to do any better with my credit rating.

When I got my new car, from 2002, people weren’t just telling me to enjoy it. They said ‘Titchadesh’- ‘Make it new.’ Commanding people to enjoy something they just got. Where else do people care that much about other people’s enjoyment and intrude on their feelings?

Heart and Faith

Ethics of the Fathers teaches that a tree that has strong roots will not blow over. The people of Israel keep our positive attitude, due to our strong roots.

We do not let terror affect us. I heard about an attack when I was at a restaurant. The restaurant was packed. In the face of terror, we go out. Fighting terror? How? Eat shwarma. That is how we do it. Israelis do not give into terror. We are strong. When it comes to fighting back, we go out and eat.

Most of the world is ridding oil from their diet. We have made grease the main recipe.

Then you see soldiers praying in the army, with tefillin on, in the middle of war. So much faith. On a related but different note, what other army has 90% of their soldiers smoking in a combat unit? As I said, a lot of faith.

Crossing of streets? People don’t even look. Complete faith. The youth even walk across the streets on their cellphones, texting. God leads people in the land of Israel.