A Chabad-Lubavitch soup kitchen in Safed, Israel, celebrated the holiday of Tu B'Shevat this week with a ceremonial meal accompanied by two musicians. According to Rabbi Zeev Crombie, director of the Eshel Binyamin soup kitchen operated by Colel Chabad, the celebration that marks the "New Year for trees" brought "happiness to those who are really missing happiness in their lives."

Besides offering hot meals to the poor in Safed – the city has one of the largest rates of poverty in Israel – the soup kitchen runs an adult yeshiva-style learning program for Russian speakers. Some 200 people eat at the center every day.

On Tuesday, Eshel Binyamin's staff handed out bags of dried fruit, a traditional Tu B'Shevat foodstuff, before the musical accompaniment began and sent the crowd dancing around the tables.

Crombie said that the center always does something special for holidays.

"The purpose is to give people not only food, but also to help them spiritually," said the rabbi.

Colel Chabad was established in 1788 by the first Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi. It operates a network of soup kitchens and food banks throughout Israel, as well as other social programs for needy families and individuals.