Friday, September 15th marks the beginning of the year 5784. Jews all over the world will mark the start of the Rosh Hashanah at sundown that day with a large family meal and most will attend services to celebrate the new year. The celebration will last until nightfall on September 17th.
Apples and honey are a staple of Rosh Hashanah. The round apples signify the head of the year and honey represents sweetness. In our family, we celebrate with an apple/honey pairing tray. We buy several types of apples and honey and mix and match to decide what combination we like the best.
Round Challah is the traditional egg bread, shaped into a round loaf. Some people put raisins in it for sweetness. I have made my round Challah with apples in it and brush the top with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Pomegranates are not only round, but the many seeds inside signify the many blessings we hope for in the new year.
Ceremony of the Tashlich: On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, Jews go to a body of water to cast away their sins. Generally, bread is thrown into the water to symbolize the casting off of one's sins. Following Rosh Hashanah is the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, when Jews ask for forgiveness for their 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" or "May your name 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 an abundance of delicious foods. Our traditional dinner is a brisket, a vegetable, 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. Check out our delicious Jewish Apple cake recipe! Here are a few of my favorite Rosh Hashanah recipes.
Brisket: I have yet to make anything from Tori Avey that did not turn out amazing.
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 one that 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 is one of the central traditions of Rosh Hashanah. We are commanded to go and hear the Shofar blown. Jews are called to prayer, and the ram's horn is a wake-up call to begin to atone for the sins of the previous year as Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is near.
The Shofar is blown at least 30 times on Rosh Hashanah, but it is customary for it to be blown 101 times. There are three different types of blasts 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.
Shanah Tova to all who celebrate Rosh Hashanah!