For our Jewish shareholders, this time of year holds special meaning. On Wednesday evening, at sunset on September 20th, we ushered in Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish New Year. Jews ushered in that evening and into the next two days the mystical “Birth of the Universe,” and celebrated it as the head of the Jewish year. It is a time of renewal and hopes for a year ahead full of peace, prosperity and blessing. Coming up on the evening of September 29th and lasting until September 30th, is Yom Kipper, the day of atonement and fasting, with even more holidays coming in October, most notably, Sukkot. This season, for many Jewish families, is also all about the food.
On Rosh Hashanah, special challah bread is dipped in honey to symbolize a prayer for sweet things to come in the new year. Challah is round on Rosh Hashanah, recalling the cyclical nature of the year. It is also symbolic of a crown, alluding to the desire to crown G-d as king. Apples are important on this day as well.
“Many Jews consider apples to be a perfect fruit—beautiful to the eye, the smell, and delicious to eat. Apples are dipped in honey during Rosh Hashanah for added sweetness,” says New Roots director Karyn Moskowitz, who is very immersed in her Jewish culture, especially the food. “I use this as an opportunity to buy a big supply of local honey from ValuMarket and use in all my Rosh Hashanah cooking so our upcoming year is sweet as well.”
Both the body and head of a fish are symbolic for Rosh Hashanah. Fish swim in schools and breed in plenty, and as a result, have traditionally been seen as representations of abundance.
Some foods are treasured because they are a play on words, meaning the word for the food sounds like something else you’d want to wish for in the new year. Egyptian Jews and others eat black-eyed peas because they are called Rubya, related to the Hebrew word rov meaning a lot, many. Black-eyed pea dishes, such as Hoppin’ Jack, are traditional New Year’s eats in the American Southeast. Ashkenazi or Jews of eastern European descent added carrots, “ma’rin” in Yiddish, which can also mean increase, in order to ask that merits be increased. Some say the sliced carrots in a dish like tsimmes look like gold coins, making this a way of asking for wealth.
Parkland shareholder Marcia Segal gives her take on tsimmes, “I love to make traditional tsimmes out of sweet potatoes, white potatoes, carrots, dried fruit like prunes, and a bit of honey. Tsimmes is a great dish because it is sweet and has beautiful Fall flavors and colors.”
For Yom Kippur, after a day of fasting, traditional foods cooked and served by Karyn to her guests include gefilte fish (both vegan made out of tofu and freshwater fish), as well as kasha varnishkes, or buckwheat groats and bow-tie noodles.
All shareholders who are interested in joining Karyn’s break the fast on Saturday evening, September 30th, can RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited so write soon!