Search
Follow Kveller

You are browsing the archive for high holidays.

Aug 8 2013

What’s Your Rosh Hashanah Resolution?

By at 3:32 pm

what's your rosh hashanah resolution?Want to learn how to knit? Do a lot less yelling? Spend a little more me-time?

As Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, fast approaches, we want to know what your Rosh Hashanah Resolution is–a goal, big or small, that you think you can hold yourself to in 5774.

We’ll be sharing resolutions from writers and others on the blog leading up to the High Holidays, and we would love to include some from our readers in the mix. If you’d like to participate, send an email to info@kveller.com with “Rosh Hashanah Resolutions” as the subject line. Be sure to include the following in your email:

1. Your resolution! Tell us in a few sentences what you’d like to do in the coming year.

2. Your first name, and where you live.

3. A picture of you to include on the blog.

More of a Tweeter? You can tweet your resolution to us, too! Be sure to direct it @Kveller and include the #RoshRes hashtag.

We can’t wait to hear what’s in store for you this coming New Year!

For the Month of Elul, Threading Together My Sons’ Jewish Identities

By at 11:53 am

croc with jewish star buttonOn her blog “Ima On and Off the Bima,” Rabbi Phyllis Sommer started something called #BlogElul. Elul is the Hebrew month preceding the High Holidays, and is meant to be a time of introspection as we mentally prepare for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Rabbi Sommer has designated every day of Elul to a different topic, and will be blogging about each one and encouraging others to join in.

The #BlogElul challenge spoke to me, as each year I contemplate how to weave bits of Judaism into my children’s day. Bits that over time will be threaded together to form their Jewish identities and sense of self. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 5 2013

The Review of Rosh Hashanah Menus Past

By at 5:02 pm

rosh hashanah apple cakeA few nights ago, I began my annual pre-Rosh Hashanah ritual: “The Review of Menus Past.”

Since 2004 I have kept a record of what I planned to serve each year for Rosh Hashanah. Over the years, the record keeping has been refined.  In the second year of this project, I decided to list who was “responsible” for making the item on the menu like me, Mom A, or Mom B (my mother-in-law and my mom, designated this way because of last names, not priority, of course).

In 2006 I realized that it would be really helpful to add in the cookbook title and page number so that when I went to cook the food I could find the recipe quickly. It turned out to be even more helpful years later when I decided to make something again and I didn’t have to rack my brain to remember where it was (I have a lot of cookbooks). Finally, four years ago I added the schedule of cooking so I knew what I had to accomplish each day to stay on track. (Perfect for my busy life and my type A personality!) Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 24 2012

Rethinking Who Shall Live & Who Shall Die

By at 12:30 pm

breast cancer ribbonIn 2006, my 35-year-old stepbrother was diagnosed with advanced metastatic prostate cancer. Jeremy faced his disease with tremendous grace and humor.

He died less than two years later.

His death was devastating for me. Although we had different biological parents, we became brother and sister when we were both just 2 years old. Only three months separated us, and some of my fondest childhood memories involve our make believe games and mischief together. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 21 2012

What Happens if the Rabbi’s Wife Gives Birth on Yom Kippur?

By at 11:42 am

pregnant woman holding applesMy husband and I started dating when we were 20 and 18. Not too long after that, we had a discussion about the size family we would like to have one day. At the time, he was living in an attic apartment above a family of six kids. He loved watching them interact and play with each other, as well as help each other when needed. So, he said he wanted six kids. This is how the rest of the conversation went:

Me:  No, that’s just too many. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 27 2012

Five Tips for Making the Snazziest Rosh Hashanah Cards

By at 6:02 am
stacey ilyse family photo boardwalk

Show off those precious faces this New Year.

I remember, growing up, getting cards in the mail for Rosh Hashanah. They were always the normal, generic, Hallmark “Happy New Year” type card.

Nowadays, people are WAY more tech savvy and have the ability to create really fun cards that reflect and show off who they are and their adorable kids and family. If you want to give your Rosh Hashanah cards a personal touch this year, here are five tips plus a few resources for creating and producing the picture perfect photo card. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 7 2011

It’s Yom Kippur

By at 12:58 pm

It's not just about the fasting.

Yom Kippur begins tonight at sundown. It’s a serious and somber holiday that’s filled with meaning. Also known as The Day of Atonement, it’s a communal confession of all of the sins we’ve done over the past year. A day of fasting and abstinence. There’s even a prayer where we traditionally beat our chests, to feel the collective sins not just spiritually or emotionally, but physically too. Yom Kippur can be hard for parents to understand–and even harder for children.

So how do you explain Yom Kippur to your kids?

We’ve got a few good places to start. First, check out the basics of the holiday–once you have those down, you’ll be able to answer many of your kids’ questions. Then we have some suggested books to help make sense of the holidays. Personally, I’m a fan of a book called The Hardest Word, which tells the story of a bird named the Ziz who can’t figure out what the hardest word is. (Hint: it’s “I’m sorry.”)

But sometimes saying “I’m sorry” can become rote and meaningless, and that’s not what  real teshuva on Yom Kippur is about. Check out this mom’s take on how to really help your kids understand the meaning of forgiveness and apology on Yom Kippur.

And if your kids are old enough to be interested in the fact that you’re fasting, you can talk about how giving up food on Yom Kippur helps you to think about how important it is to be a good person. Maybe your child might want to “give up” something for the day, like skipping dessert. Or, you could also focus their attention on something else that many people do on Yom Kippur–make donations of canned goods to the hungry. Adding a little social justice to the holiday makes it even more meaningful.

We’re shutting down early today, but we’d like to wish all our readers an easy fast (or no fast, whatever you choose). We’ll be back on Monday atoned, refreshed, and possibly skinnier.

G’mar chatima tova–may you be sealed for blessing in the book of life!

Oct 4 2011

A Whale of a Snack for Yom Kippur

By at 11:32 am

With a little imagination, a snack and a doll quickly become a Yom Kippur scene.

It’s great to lavish time and effort into homemade, handmade treats for holidays, but it’s also great to find thematic goodies that are instant. As in, open a package and you’re done.  No fuss, no oven, no investment whatsoever except a buck at the Target Dollar Spot.

Which brings me to an ideal nosh for kids at Yom Kippur. It’s instant, kosher, crunchy, cute, cheesy (in more ways than one) and it’s fittingly thematic: whale crackers from Stauffer’s. Why whale crackers? Well, what’s the story Jews hear on the afternoon of Yom Kippur in synagogues all over the world? Jonah and the Whale.

The plot twist is pretty memorable: Jonah gets swallowed by the whale. All part of God’s plan, no doubt. Some say the whale swallowed Jonah to keep him safe, so that the reluctant prophet could make it to Nineveh and finish his assignment—to warn the people to change their ways. And throughout the story, we see that Jonah embodies the values of the High Holiday season: forgiveness (selichot) and repentence (teshuva). But, whether we blame the whale for gobbling poor Jonah or not, to eat whale-shaped crackers right after hearing the story tips the karmic balance just a smidge. At any rate, it’s fun. Plus, our kids can literally embody an element of this elemental story: they eat it.

But the best time to think about this is before Yom Kippur, when the rest of us—not just the preschooler crowd—can eat, too. Make the teeny whales special. They can be eaten out of hand, sure, but consider serving that handful in an ocean-blue, paper cupcake liner.  Whales can top homemade or store-bought mini-muffins or cupcakes, or float on blue jello.  The  dye-free parents among us might sprinkle a few on a small bowl of blueberries. The not-so-careful among us might sprinkle a few on a big bowl of blue M&Ms. It’s all good. It’s all Jewish. It’s all about celebrating and making connections and having fun with our kids.

I had never heard of these crackers till I saw them last week at Target. At first glance, these crackers do look like the ubiquitous (and non-kosher) Goldfish crackers, especially to fasting adults with plummeting blood sugar and dry eyelids. One must look closely to make out the stylized whale and his cheeky grin. But these crackers aren’t fish, they are whales, by golly.  The whale ate Jonah, and now we’ll eat the whale.

My point is that even ordinary snacks, if thematic and if reserved for a particular holiday, can sharpen a child’s anticipation, inject a bit of levity, add a layer of meaning, and stick in the memory as something Jewish and fun. And they are easy. This year, I’m hoping the kids will enjoy crunching mini whales in a moment of role-reversal.  And hopefully, no one will go overboard on the idea and start spewing whales.

Sep 28 2011

I Need Store-Bought, Thematic Snacky-ness And I Need it Now

By at 10:55 am

See? Those Bugles look just like a real shofar.

Every year before Rosh Hashanah I stock up on bags of Bugles: the corn-chip snacks fried in the shape of cones. I don’t even care how fatty or salty they are. I must have them.

Around a holiday, most nutritional considerations get eclipsed in favor of the greater good: transforming the ordinary into something special and memorable. And for my family, this includes Bugles. Why?

Bugles are miniature, edible shofars. Not by intention, but by conversion. They are hollow and tapered like tiny horns of plenty, and occasionally they’ve frizzled in the fat long enough to twist into a convincing arc like a real ram’s horn.

We use them as shofars for the Lego and Playmobil people. We use them as shofars for ourselves. We decorate mini muffins with them and sing Happy Birthday to the World. And we do this whether we are 4 or 14 or 46. They’ve become a taste and toy of Rosh Hashanah.

Until now.

Last week, I came home with half a dozen bags for a children’s program at the synagogue. And then I looked closer at the label. Where was the hecksher, the symbol of kosher certification?  It’s always been there. So, I go online and discover what the kosher world has known since March, 2011: the Orthodox Union (who administers that hecksher certification) has discontinued kosher certification due to “operational changes in the production sites.”

My synagogue has rules about such things. These bags, because of the sudden disappearance of two letters, will not be allowed in the building. I might just as well try serving pigs-in-a-blanket. Read the rest of this entry →

Was I Jewish Enough?

By at 10:15 am

I walked into the grocery store last week and saw a tower of gleaming honey crisp apples. As I carefully picked my bounty, I breathed in a memory of last year’s Rosh Hashanah when my husband and I toasted the new year by dipping our favorite apples in honey while our 8-month-old son gobbled up some homemade apple puree.  “This year, he’ll have apples and honey with us,” I smiled to myself.

Over the last few weeks, the anticipation of my toddler dipping apples in the stickiest substance on the planet and watching his eyes sparkle with delight still brings a smile to my face, but this time of year also reminds me that being Jewish and, even more so, feeling Jewish are very new to me.  Four years is not enough to time to have a full repertoire of Rosh Hashanah recipes tasted and perfected to bring to a friend’s house.  I don’t have crafts and decorations from years ago to pull out and hang around our house and my shofar blowing is spotty at best. I’ve never baked my own challah and I mourn the loss of my mother-in-law because we have no Jewish family to tell stories of my husband’s Jewish childhood. At a time when Jews around the world are reflecting on a year of works and worship – I find myself asking, “Was I Jewish enough?”

We only lit the candles a handful of times, but I perfected the art of cornflake chicken strips and we sing the Sh’ma every night.

We had a Hanukkah party and fumbled our way through latkes while my baby ate the wrapping paper on his gifts and returned the ‘present’ in his diaper the next day.

My best friend sewed an adorable King Ahasuerus costume for my son, but he fell ill with fever and we spent Purim in the emergency room.

My husband and I gave up chametz for the entirety of Pesach for the first time this year and I baked some delicious chocolate meringues and almond butter cookies.

And this past month, my toddler and I welcomed the return of Tot Shabbat at the JCC and I almost cried when I saw him clapping along to the familiarity of dinosaur Shabbat. Read the rest of this entry →

Tags

Recently on Mayim

Blogroll