January 23, 2017

New Years for the Trees

So when is the next Jewish holiday? Tu B’Shvat! “Say what?” “Hey, I know Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah, and Passover but not the Tu holiday!” That about describes a conversation I had with a non-Jewish employee at a major kosher supermarket as we passed a display of dried exotic fruits and other goodies for the New Years for Trees which occurs during the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shvat or “Tu (15) B’Shvat.” No, this is not small talk. It is a lesson on how to take advantage of various dates in the Jewish calendar that are not the “major” holidays. I have often lectured retailers to appreciate the fact that in many markets there are 52 “holidays” before there are any holidays. In other words, in advance of every Shabbat (usually beginning on Wednesday), many customers fill a shopping cart like they would for a holiday. Back to Tu B’Shvat! It has become a holiday of sorts as many people buy exotic fruits, all kinds of fruit baskets, and even some wines. That explains why some supermarkets nowadays do a Tu B’Shvat display and they tell me sales are brisk. One retailer opined that Tu B’Shvat is very important to him since it signals that it is 4 weeks to Purim and 8 weeks to Passover. Happy Tu B’Shvat!