Tel Aviv [Israel], February 6 (ANI/TPS): Israel's embassy in India marked the holiday of Tu B'Shevat with a festive Malida ceremony on Monday.
The Malida ceremony consists of special prayers and a dish of sweetened rice called poha, served with coconuts, dates, and fruits.
The 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat marks the beginning of the trees' new fruit-bearing cycle. The holiday is marked by planting trees, eating fruits associated with the land of Israel, and events stressing ecological awareness.
Israeli Ambassador to India Naor Gilon explained, "It's an ancient Jewish custom that was adapted to Indian traditions some 2,000 years ago and since then has been observed by the Jewish community in India. This is a testimony of the ancient bond that our civilizations share."
Tradition has it that the Jews of India, known as Bene Israel, first landed in India on Tu B'Shevat after surviving a shipwreck around 2,000 years ago. After they were saved, the Prophet Elijah is said to have appeared to them, promising that they would prosper in India, and that their offspring would eventually return to the land of Israel.
Representatives of the Jewish community participated in the Malida ceremony and planted a tree on the embassy's premises.
An estimated 5,000 Jews live in India. (ANI/TPS)