On Sunday, February 5, the Young Israel of Hillcrest and its sisterhood, led by Rebbetzin Rebecca Schnall, presented a tasteful Tu BiSh’vat gathering for women. A fruit carving demonstration and workshop, featuring Esther Zafrani of Glorious Creations Desserts was enjoyed by 65 women at the shul, plus another 35 virtually, capacity for the program. Clad with a knife to carve, some toothpicks and cloves, and a handful of apples, the woman created beautiful designs to enhance their holiday experience. Esther also transformed a whole watermelon into a rose before their very eyes. This was glorious to watch as the class was fun, creative, uplifting, and even therapeutic. Attendees found that Zafrani was able to simplify the most complex processes into bite-size steps, making it easy for all to catch on. Of course, all attendees enjoyed a delicious fruit platter in honor of the chag.

Zafrani, a successful high school teacher and Wilton Hall of Fame awardee for Best Instructor, has made a name for herself customized fruit and vegetable carvings for events of all kinds. Adapting her artistic abilities was always a passion for Zafrani, and the smiles on her client’s faces prove that her unique style of creativity has worked. Her business expanded to offer tailored cakes and desserts. Workshops offering knowledge on creating bespoke desserts for one’s family table soon followed. Fruit carving therapy has been documented as an innovative form of art therapy.

One attendee related, “I found it incredible that I was able to attend this workshop with zero knowledge on fruit decorating and left flabbergasted at how Esther was so articulately able to find my hidden talent.”

 By Shabsie Saphirstein