Sundown on September 25, 2021, marks the beginning of the year 5783. Jews all over the world will mark the start of the Rosh Hashanah with a large family meal and most will attend services to celebrate the new year.
Apples and honey are a stable of Rosh Hashanah, the apples being round, signify the head of the year and honey is for sweetness. In our family, we have an apple/honey paring tray. We buy several types of apples and honey and mix and match to decide what combination we like the best.
Round Challah, the traditional egg bread is shaped into a round loaf, some people put raisins in it for sweetness, I do not. I am not a raising fan. I have made my round challah with apples in it and brush the top with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Pomegranates: Not only are they round, but the many seeds inside signify the many blessings we hope for in the new year.
Tashlich: On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, Jews go to a body of water to cast away their sins (the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur follows Rosh Hashannah when Jews ask for forgiveness for their sins) generally, bread is thrown into the water to symbolize the casting off of one's sins.
Traditional Greeting: If you have a friend who celebrates Rosh Hashanah and you want to offer a traditional greeting, you can say "Shanah Tova" , You can also say "May your be inscribed in the Book of Life" If you want to try your hand at some more Hebrew, you can say, "G’mar chatimah tovah" which basically means a good final sealing. These greetings are only used on the High Holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
Just like all of our holidays, Rosh Hashanah offers no shortage of delicious foods. Our traditional dinner is a brisket, a vegetable, usually something sweet like roasted carrots, potato kugel, round challah, and of course apples and honey. For dessert, I generally make something with apples, like a cake or crumble. Here are a few of my favorite Rosh Hashanah recipes. I can't give you my brisket recipe but here is one that is almost as good as mine.
Brisket: Tori Avey, I have yet to make anything that did not come out amazing from her.
Potato Kugel: This is the one that I am going to try this year, Jamie Geller has great recipes.
Challah: So, challah is a pretty intense food in our culture. Everyone has the one they love the best. I stopped making my mom's recipe a few years ago and switched to this traditional one from Chabad. I have never had a bad loaf from it. This one is similar to my mom's but it makes a larger number of challahs so I can put them in the freezer and have them for a few weeks.
The Shofar: This is one of the central parts of Rosh Hashana. We are commanded to go and hear the shofar blown. The ram's horn is a call to wake up. Jews are called to prayer, it is a time to get ready to have our deeds examined. The shofar is blown at least 30 times on Rosh Hashanna but it is customary for it to be blown 101 times. There are 3 different blasts that are blown from the shofar.
No matter how old I get or how many times I hear it, I always get goosebumps when I hear the shofar blown. It is one of my favorite parts of the High Holidays.