Coming with the promise of cool fall days, the Jewish High Holy Days are just ahead. Rosh Hashana, which begins at sundown on September
18, and Yom Kippur, September 27, are the most important holidays of the Jewish year. They combine times of great celebration with solemn contemplation, making them quite unique. During Rosh Hashana we celebrate the New Year and new beginnings, and on Yom Kippur we atone for our sins from the previous year and consider how to make the coming year better.
Lovely Traditions Abound
As the holiday nears we think of the wonderful traditions and customs that surround the High Holy Days, including the blowing of the shofar, tashlikh (the casting off of sins), fasting,
holiday gift-giving and of course,
While I love the spiritual significance of these holidays, I can't help looking forward to the wonderful meals and treats that are traditional at this time. Sweet things are the order of the holiday as we hope for a sweet new year. Meals that surround the high holidays include several dishes that are sweetened with honey. But an all-time favorite that everyone loves each Rosh Hashana, is dipping apples in honey. Some families also dip challah in honey. And the challahs at this time of year are beautiful, baked in a round shape, sometimes with raisins, to symbolize the circle of lifeand again, a sweet new year. Since Rosh Hashana signifies new beginnings, we often eat foods that are new, unusual or that we don't get often, like persimmons or figs. One we love is the pomegranate which we eat so "our merits will increase like the seeds of the pomegranate."
Holiday Menu Ideas
The menus for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur can be very similar. We often serve chicken soup with matzo balls, sweet and sour brisket, tzimmes (carrots and sweet potato with honey) noodle kugel, a green vegetable and perhaps an Israeli salad of chopped tomato, cucumber and red onion. Some like to break the full-day Yom Kippur fast with a dairy menu that is lighter and may include bagels and lox, whitefish salad, sliced turkey and egg salad.
Of course desserts don't go unnoticed. At Challah Connection,
we have our extraordinary
, recently named by David Rosengarten as the best mail order dessert. We also have beautifully designed
Rosh Hashana Gift Baskets that can include everything from our fabulous desserts to gourmet honey and special honey pots.
Other lovely traditions during the holidays include blowing the shofar, or rams horn, in the synagogue at special times during the Rosh Hashana service, and marking the end of the Yom Kippur fast. On the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashana, a custom call tashlikh symbolizes the casting away of one's sins into flowing waters. Jews gather at a river or stream and throw pebbles or bread crumbs symbolizing their sins into the water. All of the customs surrounding the holidays culminate with the breaking of the Yom Kippur fast. Friends and family gather together with hopes of a wonderful new year.
The Challah Connection,