We are smack dab in the middle of the High Holy days on the Jewish calendar. For those of you less familiar with the Jewish calendar, the High Holy days are days from when Rosh Hashanah starts and ends with Yom Kippur. If you had to pick one time of year to actually show up at Temple, this would be the moment.
There are some serious religious things that go one during this period (like the whole not eating thing on Yom Kippur), but there are also some great traditions. Since this time period marks the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah is traditionally a time to send cards to friends and family, similar to Christmas cards. You are supposed to connect with the important people in your life and ask forgiveness for any transgressions that occurred in the past year. It’s basically a time to clean your slate with your friends. Then the period ends with Yom Kippur which is when you settle the score with the big guy and ask for forgiveness by making a personal sacrifice of not eating for 25 hours.
My favorite thing about Yom Kippur is the scene at Temple. I’ve never been to an Easter Mass, but I would guess it’s similar. Instead of wearing your best spring dress however, on Yom Kippur you break out you best fall suit. I typically go to my grand parents temple on Long Island, and those women know how to throw down. Forget fall fashion week in Manhattan, these women at temple throw around labels like you would not believe. I have never seen more red soled shoes in one room in my life. Yom Kippur service is a place to see and be scene, and since you didn’t eat dinner last night, or breakfast that morning, might as well squeeze into that dress that’s have a size too small in real life. When you’re stuck in a room for three hours and all you can think about is a bagel with cream cheese, it’s nice to have pretty things to look at.
The final great thing about these holidays is the traditional food. Rosh Hashanah is all about apples and honey to wish a sweet new year. It’s no coincidence that this is big flavor profile in the fall. Here are some links to some great High Holy day dessert recipes to try!
Walnut Honey Cake from Martha (pictured above)
Apple Honey Challah from Smitten Kitchen
Apple and Honey Tarts from Tales of an Overtime Cook
Apple Chunk Oatmeal Cookies from Cook Kosher