Ask any Jewish elder what Tu B’Shvat is and you might get a confused glance. But ask any younger coastal dweller with a Twitter handle, and they might be able to tell you: it’s an agricultural New Year’s Day for the trees, and the people who appreciate this holiday are trending younger and younger.
In 2012, there were 70,000 vegans in Israel. But most Israelis didn’t know what the word vegan meant. In 2018, at least 5% of Israelis are vegan. In Gil Golan’s “One Angry Vegan,” which premiered at the Chelsea Film Festival, he sets out to document the militant vegan whose star ascended as she became the face of a movement.
As trailers and trailers of soybeans, sorghum and pork pull up to the Food Bank For NYC’s enormous Bronx Warehouse, kosher soup kitchen owners are gnashing their teeth at the lack of kosher commodities. In August 2018, the USDA spent 1.2 billion dollars in commodity foods “to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation by foreign nations,” as they wrote in the press release. Translation: the USDA is assisting farmers who have been affected by the president’s trade wars.
My summer camp had a funny mealtime tradition. When the kitchen staff was planning a special dessert, for which we would need to hang onto a utensil after the dishes were cleared, they would ask one table of campers to announce it to the dining hall. Those campers would, in unison, pound on their table and shout out “SAVE YOUR SPOONS” for all of camp to hear. At that point, some other group of witty campers would inevitably pound on their table and shout “SAVE THE WHALES,” and another would answer with “SAVE THE EARTH,” and so on, and so forth.
The arrival of cold season is loudly heralded by advertisements for flu shots and the sounds of sniffles on buses and trains. Colds are inescapable and still, year after year, armed with folk medicine and fierceness, we resolve to cure the incurable.
Thankfully, Jewish tradition, from Maimonides to the shtetl, offers us some guidance for using food to cure the common cold.