Reprinted with permission from Haaretz.com

As early as the days of the Second Temple, until 70 CE, the fifteenth day of the month of Av (celebrated just a few days ago), starting at sundown on Friday, was celebrated as the day of shiduchim, matchmaking, for young Jews. Women wearing white dresses would fill the vineyards, dancing for men to observe and choose their bride. Why dance in the vineyards? Because late summer was time of harvesting the grapes for making wine.

Fast forward two millennia, Tu B’Av is officially Love Day (or Valentine’s Day) in modern Israel, including all the red fuzzy bears, heirloom heart balloons and red roses. And although people nowadays dance in disco clubs (I think—it’s been a while.) and not in the vineyards, wine still plays a big role in romantic courting everywhere.

Full post and recipes here.