Shana Tova!

First and foremost, thank you thank you thank you!  You all make me feel so beautiful and amazing, despite the watermelon that precedes me by a mile!  I was definitely not fishing for compliments, but you all made me feel so good about myself and my changing shape!  I don’t want to come off as complaining either.  Pregnancy is an amazing time, but it’s not all rainbows and unicorns!  It’s hard to feel like you look great when you don’t feel it all of the time, but you all have a way of bringing me back to a more “normal” place and putting a huge smile on my face, so thank you!

Also, Happy New Year!

What, it’s not new year you say?  Wrong!  It’s the Jewish New Year and it’s a time to celebrate!!!

Today is Rosh Hashanah, which marks the beginning of the Jewish High Holidays, which are days in which we focus on repentance.  Today marks the beginning of the Jewish calendar.  It is believed that Rosh Hashanah represents the creation of the world or universe, or perhaps man (there are many differing theories).  This is also a holiday known as the “day of judgment” where our fates are recorded.  We say “shana tova” which means “a good year” to one another.

Today is actually a day of rest, much like Shabbat.  A defining characteristic of this holiday is the blowing of the shofar, which is a horn made from an animal’s horn which symbolically awakens listeners from their slumbers and to alert them of the coming judgment.  My father and brother actually both blow the shofar (it’s not easy).  It’s an eerie, beautiful sound.  There are many different kinds of shofars.  They each have a small one, and a massive one, like these:

Many people will also say “shana tova umetukah” which means “a good and sweet year.”  Characteristic of the feasts of Rosh Hashanah (we had one last night and there will be one tonight) are foods such as apples and honey, which symbolize a sweet new year.

Things are actually done a little bit differently in Solomon’s family, because he is of the Sephardic tradition (not the Sephardic religion…which is only funny to a few people!), which just means that they observe with different traditions than those of Ashkenazi Jews, which is how I was raised.  Rather than traditional apples dipped in honey, in Solomon’s home we have many foods which are have different symbolism including dates, grapes, melon, gourds, pomegranate seeds, leeks, spinach, tongue (which I don’t eat, yuck) and apples cooked with honey and other sweet things.

In addition to all of these special foods, we also serve a round challah, which symbolizes the cycle of the year, and the circle of life.  During the rest of the year, the challah is braided, and we dip in in salt.  During the High Holiday season, we dip it in sugar to symbolize sweetness, plus the dough is a little sweeter.  Last night I made some of both.  This is an old picture of my braided challah.

dsc01970 I also made round challahs this year, for the first time ever.  I sweetened the dough with a little honey, and added golden raisins, to give it a little more sweetness.


Picture 151 AFTER:

Picture 155 Picture 160 Not to toot my own horn, but seriously…these came out amazing!  I was literally bright red during dinner because people we complimenting them so much!  I had so many people ask for the recipe, and I was so proud to tell them all how easy it is!  I LOVE when people love my cooking, there’s nothing better!  I am also making more of these for Friday night (not the holiday anymore, but it is Shabbat and we are still in the High Holiday time period).

I will also be making some other easy things for the holiday including:

Wow, looking back on some old blog posts makes me realize how much more I have learned about the camera!

I know that’s an incredibly vague description of the holiday, and if you are curious, there is a lot of information out there!  To me, it marks the beginning of fall, and I do like to see it as a new year!  I don’t necessarily make any new year’s resolutions, but I like the idea of starting fresh, plus I know this year holds some pretty amazing things for Solomon and I!

Shana Tova to all of you!  Have a sweet and happy new year!


9 Responses

  1. I can’t believe it is already this time of year! Your challah’s look so beautiful!

  2. i love when you share these kind of posts (i love all your posts, too!) i get to learn so much.

  3. I love this post–I learned about something that I otherwise probably wouldn’t! Thanks!

  4. Your challah looks amazing, love making it and using it for french toast!

  5. Shana Tova and your challah looks amazing. I made matzo ball soup and a noodle kugel for my grad class. Most of them have never even heard of those foods. Then I brought in apples and honey too.

  6. wow, you are a challah pro!! HAPPY NEW YEAR !

  7. That challah looks delicious!
    Thanks for sharing. I was just asking my coworker about Rosh Hashanah and we both were really not sure about it.
    Shana Tova!!

  8. Happy New Year! I’m not Jewish but can I still say that? I will say I can b/c I grew up in Boca Raton and a bunch of my friends celebrate it.

    Your challah looks gorgeous. Actually, it all looks gorgeous!

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