Celebrate The Jewish New Year, also considered the Day of Judgment. The period of the High Holidays is a time of introspection and atonement. The holiday is celebrated with the sounding of the shofar, lengthy prayers in synagogue, the eating of apples and honey, and round challah for a sweet and whole year. Tashlikh, casting bread on the water to symbolize the washing away of sins, also takes place on Rosh Hashana. at home with delicious, symbolic foods
Living in Lit. City of peace From the time of David to the Roman destruction, Jerusalem was the capital of Israel and the spiritual and governmental center of the Jewish people. During the long exile, Jews longed to return to Jerusalem and wrote poems, prayers, and songs about the beloved city. In 1967, with the capture of the Old City, Jerusalem was reunited, becoming "the eternal capital of Israel." Still, the longing for peace is unfulfilled. in the mid-80s, we were invited to be with a friend from Barbara’s ulpan for a Rosh Hashanah meal. They were a traditional Jews of Spanish descent; sometimes used to describe Jews of North-African and Middle-Eastern descent. The term also describes the customs and practices of these Jews, often in comparison to those of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews. family, and they were welcoming and the meal was delicious. Most striking was the cooked head of a sheep (or maybe it was a calf?) set on the table before the meal was served. It was then we first learned about the Rosh Hashanah Lit. Order. The festive meal conducted on Passover night, in a specific order with specific rituals to symbolize aspects of the Exodus from Egypt. It is conducted following the haggadah, a book for this purpose. The mystics of Sefat also created a seder for Tu B'shvat, the new year of the trees.. The Rosh Hashanah seder is a pre-meal ritual, a counterpart to the Passover is a major Jewish holiday that commemorates the Jewish people's liberation from slavery and Exodus from Egypt. Its Hebrew name is Pesakh. Its name derives from the tenth plague, in which God "passed over" the homes of the Jewish firstborn, slaying only the Egyptian firstborn. Passover is celebrated for a week, and many diaspora Jews celebrate for eight days. The holiday begins at home at a seder meal and ritual the first (and sometimes second) night. Jews tell the story of the Exodus using a text called the haggadah, and eat specific food (matzah, maror, haroset, etc). seder we all know about. It can be simple or elaborate, blessing and eating specific foods, each accompanied by a corresponding wish for the coming year. This was way more than your apples and honey.
With synagogue observance of Rosh Hashanah this year likely to be interrupted in many ways due to the pandemic, it is particularly apt to shift more of the observance to our homes. The Rosh Hashanah seder can mix tradition, modern relevance and lots of fun.
Eating ritual foods on Rosh Hashanah traces back to the The rabbinic compendium of lore and legend composed between 200 and 500 CE. Study of the Talmud is the focus of rabbinic scholarship. The Talmud has two versions, the main Babylonian version (Bavli) and the smaller Jerusalem version (Yerushalmi). It is written in Rabbinic Hebrew and Aramaic.. The tradition was maintained in Sephardi families, but mostly lost by Jew of Eastern European descent. The term also refers to the practices and customs associated with this community, often in contrast to Sephardic (Southern European) traditions. Jews. It has been revived in recent decades for all the same reasons that the Passover seder is so loved.
The Rosh Hashanah seder foods are mentioned during a discussion of omens:
Abaye taught: Now that you have said that an omen is significant, each person should make it a habit to eat at the beginning of the year, kara [gourds, e.g. pumpkins], rubia [fenugreek, a seed herb], karte [leeks], silka [beets] and tamrey [dates]. (Horayot 12a)
So for each of these foods, the rabbis added a short request for the coming year, each based on a pun with a word echoing the Hebrew (actually, Aramaic) name for the food. For example, the word kara, meaning “pumpkins,” inspired a wish that “the decree be torn up (yikra) and our merits be proclaimed (yikr’u) before you.” Over the centuries, these foods have been modified, and some new ones were added in different places. In Eastern Europe it became customary to eat carrots for Rosh Hashanah, because the Yiddish word for carrots, mehren, also means “increase.” Similarly, Ukrainian Jews would give their children chicken livers because their Yiddish name, leberlach, sounds like leb ehrlich, meaning “live honestly.”
Over the years, from the time our children were small, we have adapted the ritual as an intrinsic part of our annual family celebration. The seder formula lends itself to creativity and punny wordplay in English. Before eating the beets, we pray for the day that all will beat their swords into plowshares. We share artichoke hearts (or hearts of palm), and add a wish “that our hearts be opened.” And instead of the customary piece de resistance of the seder, the calf or sheep’s head (sometimes a fish) matched with a fervent wish that “we may be as the head, and not the tail,” we substitute a head of lettuce. We end our ritual going around the table and asking each person to say what they hope God will let us achieve in the coming year. For Rosh Hashanah 2020, we plan to add a new blessing over the rubia, which some identify with black-eyed peas, and a wish that everyone will digest the lessons of anti-racism and become part of the Black Lives Matter campaign.
There are several good online seder books. Our favorite is a downloadable PDF prepared by the Schusterman Foundation, with appealing illustrations and lots of room for discussion and innovation. The Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in Washington, DC, has a family-oriented downloadable version here. There’s also a good overview of the ritual on MyJewishLearning.com. Here is our own Rosh Hashanah Seder, with downloadable PDF.
Don’t forget, picking out recipes is half the fun. We’re partial to leek latkes, called Keftes de Prasa (we make this simple Turkish one, but here’s Joan Nathan’s more elaborate take) and pumpkin strudel, known as rodanchas (we use puff pastry, but you can also make the dough from scratch).
There’s a deep, authentic selection of recipes with many choices at Jimena.org, an organization that fights for the rights of Lit. Eastern The adjective describing the origin of Jews of North African or Middle Eastern descent. and Sephardi Jews, and MyJewishLearning.com also has over a dozen seder recipes to try. And don’t miss these Mizrachi recipes and kavannot from Adva Chattler. Simple or elaborate, the seder foods should be a source of fun and create an uplifting and delicious way to look forward to a new year.
Rabbi Barbara Penzner has served Temple Hillel B’nai The Five Books of Moses, and the foundation of all of Jewish life and lore. The Torah is considered the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and study of the Torah is a high mitzvah. The Torah itself a scroll that is hand lettered on parchment, elaborately dressed and decorated, and stored in a decorative ark. It is chanted aloud on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat, according to a yearly cycle. Sometimes "Torah" is used as a colloquial term for Jewish learning and narrative in general. in West Roxbury, MA, since 1995. She received the degree of rabbi and a Master of Hebrew Letters from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia in 1987. She is active in the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, the national association of Reconstructionist rabbis, and served as its President. She has also served as President of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis. Rabbi Penzner is active in greater Boston’s Jewish community and in interfaith work, including leadership of Mayyim Hayyim: Living Waters The ritual bath. The waters of the mikveh symbolically purify – they are seen as waters of rebirth. A convert immerses in the mikveh as part of conversion. Many Orthodox married women go to the mikveh following their period and before resuming sexual relations. Couples go to the mikveh before being married. Many, including some men, immerse before Yom Kippur; some go every Friday before Shabbat. and Education Center in Newton, the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Jewish Labor Committee.
Brian Rosman is Legislative Director for Senator Jo Comerford of Massachusetts. Before joining Senator Comerford’s staff, Brian was the Policy and Government Relations Director of Health Care For All (HCFA), the leading Massachusetts non-profit organization advocating for health justice. Brian has a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and was an undergraduate at Stanford. He grew up in Tucson, Arizona, is a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, and is excited to be a grandfather.