IN Rehovot, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the center of Tel Aviv, next to a Yemenite synagogue stands this date palm tree, known for its especially high-grade lulavim — the closed fronds of the tree. The lulav is one of the Four Species used during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. The three other species are the hadass (myrtle), aravah (willow), and the etrog (a type of citron). When bound together they are referred to as “the lulav”.
Some seventy years ago, when immigrating, a group of Yemenites built this synagogue and planted this palm tree, together with etrog seeds that they also had brought with them from Yemen. To this day, every year before Sukkot, a small group of people still comes especially from Bnei Brak to pick a lulav from this palm tree. Today though the project for an apartment building next to the synagogue is threatening to destroy the tree. Therefore attempts to transplant the tree are made, hence the black plastic bags wrapped around parts of the tree.
Cutting a lulav from this palm tree is not an easy task, as the tree has got especially mighty thorns…