Monday, September 29, 2008

Apples and Pomegranates

As I have at least two readers I know will to be interested, I thought I'd share what we are doing for Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), which starts tonight and finishes on Wednesday evening.

As a mixed Catholic-Jewish family we have always celebrated the major Jewish festivals at home, but although we have a number of family traditions for Hannukah and Passover, nothing has really stuck for Rosh Hashanah. Tevye goes to the synagogue, but at home we haven't done much more than bake traditional honey cake. This year I bought a book from Amazon which sounded as though it would be a good resource to help us make more of the Jewish New Year ... Apples and Pomegranates: a Family Seder for Rosh Hashanah by Rahel Musleah. The "seder" is a simple order of service based around a meal including eight foods that have traditional connections with the festival. Each food has its own section of the book, with prayers, a short story, things to think about and often a related activity. At the end there is an an abbreviated version of the traditional blessing after meals, a few simple songs and recipes. The prayers are given in Hebrew, Hebrew transliterated into the western alphabet and an English translation.

Using the whole seder would be too much for us, but tomorrow night we are going to start dinner with the blessings for Rosh Hashanah and the prayers and stories for two foods (apples and honey, and pomegranates). Depending on everyone's attention span, we may end with the abbreviated version of the traditional grace after meals included in the book. Normally we would aim to do this on the first evening, but outside commitments mean the timing just doesn't work out this year.

This morning Little Cherub and I baked honey cake and honey biscuits (cookies) - sweet foods for a sweet year. The honey biscuits were a serendipitous extra. I had ordered the book Honey Biscuits by Meredith Hooper from the library without making the connection at all ... so there I had, all unplanned, a suitable activity for Little Cherub.

Wishing you all a good year. Shana tova!

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