High Holidays Food
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High Holidays Food
What delicious foods are customary for the High Holy Days?
Start of Rosh Hashanah Dinner
Many families gather for a special dinner the evening of Rosh Hashanah. If they’re also attending the synagogue evening service that begins the holiday, they may have this meal on the early side, so everyone can get to the synagogue on time. Some families just have people over for a meal and don’t go to synagogue at the start of Rosh Hashanah.
Round Sweet Challah
The tradition is to start the meal with challah bread dipped in honey. Challah is the special, braided bread that is generally used as part of meals on the Jewish Sabbath. It’s usually oblong and braided. Because Rosh Hashanah celebrates the Jewish New Year, the custom is to use a round challah bread often times with raisins. The circular shape symbolizes the cycle of the years and the raisins represent a sweet new year.
During Jewish holidays, the start of a celebratory meal begins with a blessing giving thanks for bread, followed by everyone enjoying some challah. At all other times of year, the custom is to sprinkle some salt on the challah before everyone has a piece. But, at a Rosh Hashanah meal, the custom is to dip the pieces of challah in honey, again, in order to symbolize everyone’s hopes for a sweet new year! (You can see a video demonstration of three ways to make a round challah from scratch here and a recipe here.)
End of Yom Kippur Dinner
As we discussed above, the other major holiday during this season is the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, which takes place ten days after Rosh Hashanah. Yom Kippur is a fasting holiday, but when Yom Kippur ends, there’s a tradition of having a “break-the-fast” meal. This meal is often set up as a buffet table with foods that are light and easy to digest. Find our recipes for Yom Kippur break-the-fast here.
Check out The InterfaithFamily Guide to the High Holy Days HERE.
InterfaithFamily is the premiere resource supporting interfaith couples exploring Jewish life and inclusive Jewish communities. Learn more at InterfaithFamily.com.
The World of Asiyah - Fruits and nuts with a hard outside and an edible inside
[Pour a glass of white wine, say the blessing, and drink half or more.]
Although seemingly inedible from the outside, each of the foods eaten at the level of Asiyah, when peeled or shelled, hold gifts that transcend their outward appearance. Like winter, where everything lays dormant and hidden, these...
Named for the 15th day of the month of Shevat, this festival is known as the New Year of the Trees or the Tree's Birthday. Although it's hard to believe when you live in New England. this time of year is beginning of spring in the Middle East. The first almond blossoms have opened and the sap in the trees is beginning to rise. Therefore, it's traditional to eat fruits from Israel on Tu B'Shevat: figs, dates, grapes,...
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Hear, Oh Israel,
The universe is one.
All humanity is one.
And you shall love your fellow humans
With all your heart
And all your soul,
And all your might!
These words inscribe on your heart
And on your doorposts.
Repeat them and teach them to your children
By day and by...
For Ashkenazi Jews, the primary symbolic food of Rosh Ha-Shanah is apples dipped in honey, a way of wishing for a sweet new year. Before eating apples and honey, say the following blessings:
Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam borei pri ha-eitz.
Blessed are You, God, Ruler of the universe, who creates fruit of the tree.
Yehi ratzon lifanecha, Adonai Eloheinu,...
The shehechiyanu blessing thanks the creator for giving us life, sustaining us, and allowing us to reach this day. This blessing is said at momentous occasions, and tonight counts because it is the night when we can finally look back on the whole previous year. We made it! Whether bitter or sweet, difficult or fun, tonight we celebrate and feel grateful for making it to today, and to this table to reflect with people we...