Archive for the 'Rosh Hashanah' Category

A Honey of a New Year!

This Article is Cross-Posted on KosherEye.com

As 5771 approaches, we look ahead with hope for a good and sweet year.  Honey has been part of tradition for thousands of years, as exemplified by the age-old custom of using a taste of honey to encourage and reward young children for learning.  What can be more delicious than dipping home-made breads, crackers or fruits into honey? And now honey has gotten even sweeter!

Who Invited Julia Child to Rosh Hashanah?

I did!

I love to host the holidays. Nothing gives me more pleasure than planning, marketing, preparing, and entertaining for these special times, and I have established a tradition of going a little over the top for the occasion.

I also loved the books Julie and Julia as well as My Life in France. Both inspired me to swipe my mom’s old copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and happily start practicing. That was 2 or 3 years ago, and my appetite was rewet when I heard the film was coming out this summer. It inspired me to begin planning Le Marais, or an all Julia Child tribute to Rosh Hashanah.

Holyday Recipes on Chow.com

27742_spiced_caramel_apple_upside_down_cake_3_600_smaller

The Jew & The Carrot partnered with Chow.com to come up with some yummy holiday recipes for this season of Yuntif meal after Yuntif meal…

Thanks to our contributors Jeannette, Rhea and Rachel for sharing these ideas! You can see the whole slideshow on Chow.com’s website by clicking here.

Rachel Harkham shared the following three recipes with us:

Kitchen Wisdom from Dara Frimmer

challah2

Thanks to Rabbi Dara Frimmer, of Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles,  for sharing this sermon with us. Each of the four clergy gave a mini-sermon on a place in the house (“home” is their theme this year) and Dara says “not surprisingly I chose the kitchen.” This piece, Dara says, was in part inspired by her work on the Hazon Food Conference executive committee and the work she’s been doing to create a healthier and more sustainable world for all. Enjoy, and feel free to share your own kitchen memories below.

New Year – New Food

pomegranate

About three weeks ago I became a tourist in Jerusalem. My family packed up our home in the States, stuffed things in storage, and after one stop-over found ourselves in Ben Gurion Airport. The shiny polished floors of the airport were soon a dim memory as we tried to trespass the littered streets of Jerusalem in the oppressive heat. I kept trying to think up reasons for why the Holy Land seemed dirtier then mid-town Manhattan but those justifications didn’t lift my spirits. It was only when my young children began pointing out the pomegranate trees that were also littered all around my neighborhood that I began to feel a bit better. They are beautiful trees with small green leaves and winding branches. The pomegranates seem like such an obvious object to inspire art, literature, and cooking and not surprisingly, they have done so for centuries.

The pomegranates weren’t the only eatables that got me through the high temperatures, long lines, and jet lag. Pretty much anything wrapped in puff pastry or stuffed in a pita seemed to do the trick.

Reflections on Eating (or not Eating) During the High Holidays

Rosh Hashanah 2008

The Jewish New Year holidays are a time marked by eating (Rosh Hashanah), not eating (Tzom Gedaliah, the day after Rosh Hashanah), big-time not eating (Yom Kippur), and more big-time eating (Sukkot through Simhat Torah). How should we understand this series of ritual oppositions connected with food? What is the significance of eating and not eating, each in relation to and in contrast with the other?

Since all rituals are best understood—at least to begin with—by considering what makes them different from the ordinary (“Why is this night different from all other nights?”), to understand the meaning of eating and not-eating rituals, it is essential to begin by asking how, what and when people do or do not ordinarily eat. Since eating in the ancient world was very different from eating in our world, the meaning of eating or fasting will be very different in our world than it was for our ancestors in the past.

Elephants in our Refrigerator

elephant

Recently, Michael Pollan linked the reduction of medical costs to the even more controversial reformation of the food industry, what he calls the elephant in the national debate about the health care crisis. While Washington dukes out the legislative challenges to securing a healthier national environment, the country’s children have already returned to another school year and the Jewish New Year is upon us. Can we really wait for all this legislation to be enacted? Not me. I’m joining others who believe that change begins at the kitchen table. This year we are going to do a family food tashlich and symbolically cast away the elephants in our own refrigerators, the habitual bad food practices of everyday life.

Honey by Any Other Name…

Date Honey from the Galilee

Date Honey from the Galilee

Here in the Galilee, a modest but auspicious ease in the heat is rousing us out of our summer torpor.  That and the impending preparations for Rosh Hashana – with the questions that are on everyone’s lips: who is eating where and preparing what?

Our holiday table, like most, will be graced with a plate of sliced apples, and a bowl of honey to dip them in – to remind our tongues and the pleasure centers of our brains how sweet life can and hopefully will be in the coming year. This year, however, the honey we’ll be dipping into will have a darker hue and more complex flavor than usual.

The research I’ve been doing on the origins and history of the seven species of the Land of Israel (wheat, barley, vines, figs, pomegranates, olives and honey) has changed the way I understand this last and sweetest of the seven.

Nogah Reuveni, one of the pioneering scholars of Israel’s biblical agricultural landscape, astutely observed that, of all the seven species, there is only one which is not a plant or plant product (guess which).  While today, we think of honey as what comes out of a beehive, in ancient times, it referred to any sweet syrup made out of boiled-down fruit.

An Organic Farm at the White House? You Betcha.

Thank you to Daniel Bowman Simon for this guest post. Daniel is the founder of TheWhoFarm – a non-partisan initiative to inspire the 44th President to plant an organic farm on the grounds of the White House. Michael Pollan may have made the idea popular in his article, Farmer in Chief, last week, but The Who Farm is one of two organizations that has been pushing for a White House Organic Farm throughout the last exciting months of the election.

large_sheepwhitehouse.jpg

When Rosh Hashana rolled around last year, it was beyond my imagination that I’d spend Rosh Hashana this year in Albuquerque, New Mexico. But The White House Organic Farm Project, aka TheWhoFarm, brought me there.

A local resident named Wade Patterson had heard TheWhoFarm was coming to town. He emailed me a very spirited note, respectfully requesting that we join the Carnuel Road Parade in downtown Albuquerque, organized by Harwood Arts Center, where Wade works. We’d never been in a parade, the Harwood Arts Center is involved in some quite compelling urban renewal projects that involve community gardens, and the request had obviously come from Wade’s heart – so there was really no way, or no reason, to decline the request.

When Wade and I spoke on the phone in advance of our arrival, he mentioned that he’d like to have us over for dinner, but that he’d have to ask his wife first. And then he emailed again to invite me to a Rosh Hashana dinner. He explained that his wife was Jewish, but that he was not Jewish, and that there would be other non-Jews there. A sort of ecumenical New Year’s. Without even knowing I was Jewish, he’d invited me to a his Rosh Hashana table! In New Mexico! How often does that happen?

Nuts for Repentence?

Nuts

In a season filled with symbolic meanings, the question of whether to eat nuts during these days of repentence has advocates for the yeah and the ney. There are those who definitely avoid nuts of all shapes and sizes during these ten days. For some there is a deep symbolic meaning, as I mentioned in my Rosh Hashana post, as the Hebrew word egoz has a numeric value 17 (when you add up the value of each letter) [thanks to Devo for the correction] that is equal to that of the Hebrew word of sin (het) and as sin should be avoided so too should nuts.

I don’t personally find this to be the most persuasive argument against nuts, as I suspect that if I looked long and hard I might be able to find other foods whose value was similarly negatively associated. But there is another school of thought that suggests that nuts should be avoided in this particular season because they can have a negative effect on our ability to sing.  (Their husks and meats have a tendency to get caught in or dry up throats and so they are to be avoided in this season when our need to raise our voices to God is so essential.)

Looking into this matter, I came across some wonderful rabbinic teachings about nuts.

Winners! Rosh Hashanah Dinner Challenge

honeycookies.jpg

Dear The Jew & The Carrot readers,

You really outdid yourselves this time.  We asked you to inspire us by creating the greenest, most locally-inspired, and delicious Rosh Hashanah dinner imaginable.  And boy did you ever impress!  All the submissions we received looked mouthwatering.  But from a homemade vegetarian feast, to honey cookies made with local honey, to perhaps the only humanely-raised, kosher schected goat eaten anywhere this Rosh Hashanah, the winners (featured below), brought to sustainable celebration to the next level.

Check out their amazing meals – with pictures! – below the jump…

Shana Tovah!

250042960_e660b9e9f3.jpg

Happy Rosh Hashanah from The Jew & The Carrot!

Or, as my friend, Sabrina Malach, perfectly put it: “Wishing you a sweet year filled with the abundance of fresh apples and raw honey.  Blessings to you, your family and all the farmers and pollinators who make our rituals possible.”

Reminder: Rosh Hashanah Dinner Challenge (Win!)

pomegranateheart.jpg

Doing something special to green your Rosh Hashanah dinner table? Let us know about it and win great cookbook prizes! A few snaps of your camera and a few supporting words is all it takes.

Enter The Jew & The Carrot’s Rosh Hashanah Dinner Challenge and your New Year might just get a little sweeter. Details and enter here.

Rosh Hashanah Round Up

applesandhoney.jpg

Hazon’s Executive Director, Nigel, likes to quote Reb Shlomo Carlebach with the idea that the Jewish holidays come around to remind us of the things we should be doing all year. For example – in theory, we should always work to clear out the spiritual “chametz” from our lives, but if we don’t then Passover arrives to remind us. And we should always remember to connect to the land and the seasons, but if we forget then Sukkot’s lulav and etrog jog our memories.

Tomorrow night, Rosh Hashanah begins – ushering in with it the reminder to reflect and find ways to return to the best possible version of ourselves. To welcome in such a special time, we’ve rounded up a number of great Rosh Hashanah stories, ideas, and recipes from the Jewish food blogosphere. The creativity coming out of these bloggers minds and kitchens is truly inspiring – feel free to share more resources below.

Rosh Hashanah round up below the jump…