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I love ט׳ו בשבט (Tu B'Shvat). It is the best holiday - ראש השנ הלאילנות (The New Year for Trees). 

Many, many moons ago when I was a child in Hebrew School in the dead of winter, every  ט׳ו בשבט all the students received a gift of a small brown paper bag filled with nuts and dried fruit from Israel. It was something very special and it was very exciting. פרי תמרים, תאנים, משמשים, (dates and figs and apricots). שקדים בקליפה (almonds in the shell.) And something unknown in our parts - חרוב (boxer fruit). 

I was very interested in eating it all but a little confused about whether I would like the taste...


For the first year we lived here I was so busy eating and cooking with new ingredients I found at the shuk, I never paid much attention to their actual names - the names of the all the green things that can be found in huge mounds at every market in Israel - herbs, vegetables, teas, plants.


I was content to be led by my eyes and by the earthy aroma of the plants. What a delight to be in a forest of produce.


But once my Hebrew began to improve I wanted to make my best effort to use the language in the place I was most comfortable - around food. So I learned to read restaurant menus in Hebrew before I could re...

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