Traditions

SUKKOT

Posted on October 13, 2011. Filed under: Brownies, Cheese, Cherries, Chocolate, Cookies, Cupcakes, Dairy, Desserts, Dinner/Supper, Ethnic Recipe, Family, Fish, Honey, Jello, Jewish, Kosher Recipe, Lemons, Menu, My Ramblings, Pears, Pineapple, Recipes, Sukkot, Sukkot Recipes, Traditions, Tried and True Recipe, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


The holiday of Sukkot begins on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei. Known in rabbinic literature as Ha-Chag–“the holiday”–the themes of Sukkot are clearly of high importance in Jewish theology.  Sadly, many Jews, including myself, really don’t celebrate it.  Perhaps we have a festive meal and perhaps we are lucky enough to be invited to eat dinner in a sukkah (open air booth) built by a friend or family member.  Or perhaps our synagogue has a communal meal to celebrate that we can take part in.  In part it is the fault of our school system here in the U.S.  In part it is the fault of today’s world.  And in part, it is the fault of our parents and/or of us.  We have to take so much time off for Rosh  Hashanah and Yom Kippur that we tell ourselves (and it is probably not far from the truth) that we will be fired if we take too much time off from our jobs, even if it is for religious reasons.  At one time employers may have been more sympathetic to our needs, but not any longer.  Our children are allowed to miss only so many days a year and here in the North that means we have to plan missed snow days.  Don’t forget that kids get sick, especially during the winter, as we adults also do.  Doctor appointments, dental appointments, “tummy ache” days, they all add up.  So how can we allow our children to take time off?  Even if we did insist they take the time off, how are they ever going to catch back up with the other kids, let alone bypass them in the race for college scholarships, let alone college admittance?  So our observance of Sukkot, the most beautiful of our holidays, and one of the most important of our holidays takes a back burner to the secular world and our secular lives.  I am glad to say that more and more people that I know do take the time to build their own personal sukkahs and take the time to celebrate.  Last year Paul and I were invited to our Cousin Susan’s sukkah along with many other people.  Susan is the hostess with the moistest and her sukkah and sukkah party were no exception.  This year we have been invited to our good friends’ The Sterns, sukkah for an intimate family dinner.  We are hoping that the weather will be with us so we can at least do the ceremonial part of the meal in the sukkah, if not have our entire meal out there beneath the stars.  I know in Kingston, my step-son-in-law and grandson are helping to build their synagogue’s sukkah and will be celebrating there with the temple family.  My mom will be going to my Aunt’s house or my cousin’s house.

The symbolism of the sukkah is a strong reminder of the dwellings of the biblical Israelites as they wandered in the desert for 40 years after the exodus from Egypt. In this manner, these temporary dwellings return us to a different time in our development and remind us of our journey to nationhood.  That answers the question “is Judaism” a nation?  Yes, in part it is.

Another symbolic definition of the sukkah is that it binds us to G-d as we recall our dependence on him for our daily needs and we celebrate all that he does for us.  We are commanded to be joyous during the whole holiday period (7 days) of Sukkot. We are told that it is a worse sin to be sad during this period than to have a sip of water on Yom Kippur.  I had no idea until I started writing this article of just how important Sukkot is in Judaism.

People take great pride in decorating their sukkah, but it is always decorated with fruits and greenery to remind us that Sukkot is a harvest holiday.  I went rummaging through the Net to find some pictures of the coolest sukkahs.  Here are some I think gives you an idea of the different types of sukkahs you can find.

This is a very basic sukkah.  I found it at the Mont Clair Jewish Organization’s website.

This picture is of a pre-fab sukkah that you can purchase.  I found this picture at Tzvee’s Talmudic Blog.

This is a great example of a sukkah decorated with fruits and greens.  Click on the photo to go to HWPS Organization’s website.

This is my favorite.  I love that it is decorated with colorful paper chains like the ones I made as a child in addition to the fruit and grains.  I was very impressed with the article on Sukkot that this photo was a part of.  Click on to the website after you finish reading my article.  This sukkah, I think is in Israel.  The website is called “Israelity.com.”

“There is also a commandment in the Torah for each person to take the fruit of a “goodly tree,” later interpreted as a fruit called an etrog (citron). Along with this fruit, one must collect certain tree branches and rejoice before God. We therefore take a palm branch and connect to it myrtle twigs and willow branches. There are beautiful narratives in rabbinic literature that discuss the symbolic images of the etrog and lulav (as the combination of the palm, myrtle, and willow is collectively known). They include parallels to the Jewish matriarchs and patriarchs as well as to the body and soul of each individual Jew.”[1]

There are other themes but my typing time is running out and I do want to share a Succot Menu and recipes with you.  For more information, click on the footnote and read the article where I found most of my information.  This menu is for a buffet meal.  The recipes are included for menu items that have an asterisk at the end of the name of the item.

DISCLAIMER:  The only photos that look like the recipes they go with are the Mandel Bread and the Russian Tea Cookies and the mini cupcakes.  Where I could, for the graphics, I attached links to them.

Just click on the picture.

SUCCOT MENU

Raisin Challah for the Blessing

Wine for the Blessing

Tossed Salad with Pomegranate Seeds

Smoked White Fish Salad purchased from a Kosher Deli or a grocery store that carries it

Egg Salad OR Deviled Eggs

Crackers

Aunt Hushie’s Salmon Balls served with Rice*

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna*

Luchshen Kugel*

Molded Fruit Salad*

Al Fuchsman’s Mandel Bread (cookies)*

Chewy Brownies*

Russian Tea Cookies*

Mini Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Chip Icing*

Coffee, Tea, Fruit Punch or Soft Drinks, Water

Aunt Hushie’s Salmon Balls

==========================

1 pound Salmon plus liquid

1 small Onion; grated

1 small Carrot; grated

2 Eggs; beaten

1/2 cup Matzah Meal OR Corn Flake Crumbs

Salt

Pepper

Dash of Nutmeg

MUSHROOM SAUCE:

1 Onion; diced and browned

1/2 cup diced, cooked Carrots & liquid

1 small can Mushrooms & Liquid

1/8 teaspoon Ginger

1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg

Salt

Pepper

3/4 cup Ketchup

3/4 cup Water

Mix salmon & liquid, small onion, small carrot, 2 eggs, matzah meal, salt, pepper and dash of nutmeg together and allow to set for 10 mins.

With WET hands, form into small balls (golf size balls), roll in crumbs and fry quickly.  Drain on paper towels.

SAUCE:

Mix together all sauce ingredients. Pour sauce into GREASED baking pan.  Place patties on sauce and heat in 350 degree oven UNCOVERED for 20-30 mins.

This is a wonderful recipe for brunches and luncheons. We have made many times and always get raves.  This was first made for us by my Aunt Hushie and it was Helen Schiller’s recipe (a friend of my Aunt’s) from my older edition of Rochester Hadassah Cookbook.  Please note that Aunt Hushie taught me to make this recipe in the large disposable aluminum 9×13-inch pans.  If you place the patties by the markings on the side of the pan, it works perfectly.  Also note that whenever my Aunt or I have made this recipe, we usually triple it.  I’ve made it for showers and other special occasions, so I think it is perfect for a dairy meal for Sukkot. ~Marilyn aka Softa123

 

 

 

Fruit Noodle Kugel          

===================

1 (16 ounce) package broad egg noodles

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2-1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 pound butter

2 grated Winesap apples

2 grated pears

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2-1 c. white raisins

Cook noodles in boiling salted water 25-30 minutes. Strain and rinse with cold water. Add butter to noodles and mix until melted. Add sugar,eggs, cinnamon, fruits, juices and raisins. Mix gently. Pour intogreased 9 x 13 x 2 inch Pyrex dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2hours, depending upon crustiness desired. Serve warm or cold.

Softa123’s aka Marilyn’s Note:  I have not tried this recipe yet, but I think it sounds perfect for Sukkot as it features pears in addition to the normal apples and raisins.  Also, what is nice about this recipe is that it is parve, so it can be eaten with either a dairy or a meat meal.

 

 

 

 

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

=========================

By: preciousmom

PRECIOUS MOM’S NOTE:  “My first try with a vegetarian lasagna.”

Prep Time: 50 Min

Cook Time: 45 Min

Ready In: 1 Hr 35 Min

Servings: 9

Ingredients

1 pound eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds

1/2 pound medium fresh mushrooms cut into 1/4 inch slices

3 small zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices

1 onion, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 (15 ounce) container reduced-fat ricotta cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 eggs, beaten

1 (26 ounce) jar meatless spaghetti sauce

1 can of Italian diced tomatoes

12 no-boil lasagna noodles

2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

3 tablespoons minced fresh basil

Directions

Line two 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans with foil.  Place all vegetables (except onions) in a zip lock back with the oil, salt and pepper. Shake the bag to make sure everything is coated and let sit for 5 minutes.

Place eggplant and mushrooms on a pan. Place the zucchini on the second pan. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes. Turn vegetables over. Bake 15 minutes longer. Remove eggplant, onions and mushrooms.

Bake zucchini 5-10 minutes longer or until edges are browned.

Sauté onion in a skillet with olive oil. Add in the tomatoes and spaghetti sauce. Let sit for about 5 minutes.

In a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and egg substitute. Spread about 1/4 cup pasta sauce in a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray.

Layer with four lasagna noodles (noodles will overlap slightly), half of ricotta cheese mixture, half of vegetables, a third of pasta sauce and 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with half of basil. Repeat layers. Top with the remaining noodles and pasta sauce.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until edges are bubblyand cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Molded Fruit Salad          

===================

1 pkg. lemon Jell-O

1 c. hot water

1/2 c. creamy cottage cheese

1/2 c. broken walnut meats

1/2 c. maraschino cherries, quartered

1 c. crushed pineapple, well drained

1 c. heavy cream, whipped

Dissolve gelatin in hot water; chill until partially set. Fold in cottage cheese, whipped cream, walnuts, cherries, and pineapple. Pour into pan and chill until firm. Cut in squares and serve on lettuce.

Al Fuchsman's Mandel Bread

 

Al Fuchsman’s Mandel Bread

Source:  The Washington Post, November 28, 2007

  • • Cuisine: Eastern European
  • • Course: Dessert, Snack

Summary:

“Many cultures and cuisines have their own version of this crisp bread that is eaten as a cookie. Dotty Fuchsman says her husband’s is “world famous” because they have taken it to England and Israel.
The mandel bread can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks; the Fuchsmans prefer to wrap it well and freeze it for up to 2 months.”

Makes 64 to 100 slices/cookies

Ingredients:

• 1 cup canola oil, plus more for greasing the baking sheets (optional)

• 5 cups bread flour

• 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal

• 1 cup sugar

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 2 teaspoons baking powder

• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1 cup whole raw unsalted almonds, cut into 3 pieces per nut

• 3/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins

• 5 large egg whites, plus 1 whole egg

• 2 teaspoons almond extract

• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

• 1/3 cup water

• Juice of 1 medium lemon or lime (2 to 3 tablespoons)

• Cinnamon-sugar mixture, for sprinkling

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large rimmed baking sheet with canola oil or nonstick cooking oil spray.

Combine the bread flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, almonds and dried cranberries or raisins in a large bowl.

Combine the egg whites, egg and oil in a separate bowl; blend well. Add the almond and vanilla extracts, water and citrus juice. Add to the bowl of dry ingredients; mix and knead the dough until it achieves the consistency of putty. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and form them into bars on the baking sheet, roughly 3 inches by 12 inches by 3/4 inches thick, spaced apart so they do not touch. Bake for about 20 minutes, and then transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes; the bars will be warm and slightly set.

Meanwhile, position an oven rack 4 to 5 inches from the top broiling element and preheat the broiler. Have ready 2 large, same-size baking sheets.

Use a very sharp knife to cut the bars into 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch slices; there should be about 16 to 25 slices per bar. Working in batches, lay the bars flat on a baking sheet (about 36 should fit snugly on 1 sheet) and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Toast under the broiler for 5 to 8 minutes or until the edges are brown and the sugar has melted. Remove from the oven and carefully place a second baking sheet on top of the toasted slices. Use oven mitts to hold the sheets together and carefully flip over; remove the top baking sheet so that the untoasted second sides of the slices are exposed. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture and return to broil for 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the slices to a wire rack to cool thoroughly; the slices should be crisp.

Original Recipe Source:

From Annandale resident Al Fuchsman.

Nutritional Information:

66 calories, 3g fat, 0g saturated fat, 2mg cholesterol, 35mg sodium, 8g carbohydrates, 0g dietary fiber, n/a sugar, 1g protein.

I love brownies...all kinds of brownies!

Chewy Brownies

==============

Ingredients:

6 medium eggs, beaten

3 cups of sugar

2-1/4 cups of flour

1 cup of melted margarine

6 tablespoons of cocoa

2 teaspoons of vanilla

1-1/2 teaspoons of salt

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 large packet of walnuts, broken

Preparation Instructions:

Combine the melted margarine, cocoa, and the sugar.  Add the six beaten eggs.

Mix together the flour, salt and baking powder and add to other mixture.  Add the vanilla and broken walnuts.

Bake in a greased and floured 18*12 inch jelly roll pan at 375°F (190°C) for 20 minutes.

Russian Tea Cookies...Yummy in my tummy!

Russian Tea Cookies

===================

1/2 cup Vegetable Shortening

2 cups Flour

4 tablespoons Sugar

1/2 cup Butter OR Margarine

2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1-1/2 cups Nuts; ground

Confectionary Sugar

Cream shortening, margarine and sugar. Add vanilla extract, flour and nuts. Form little balls of dough with teaspoon of batter. Place on UNGREASED cookie sheets.

Bake 30 minutes at 300 degrees. After cooling for 15 minutes, roll balls in confectionery sugar.

Makes 4 1/2 dozen cookies.

SOFTA123’S AKA MARILYN’S NOTE:  These are delicious and addictive!!  I  first made this recipe for my eldest nephew, Dov’s, Bar Mitzvah. That was About 15 years ago if I did the math correctly, and I’ve been making them ever since.  I do suggest doubling the recipe.  You won’t regret it!  This is one of my all-time favorite cookies!  Recipe came from the “Rochester Hadassah Cookbook.”

 

I have to try this recipe, don't you?

Mini Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Chip Icing

 

“Simple, two ingredient recipe”.

 

1 box spice cake mix
1 15 oz. can pure pumpkin

Mix both ingredients together thoroughly and fill mini cupcake liners almost to the top. These cupcakes will not rise that much and will not shape naturally. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, checking with the toothpick test.

For the icing:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar, as needed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. cinnamon
4 oz. Hershey’s cinnamon chips, melted and cooled

Whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the bowl when necessary. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla, honey, and cinnamon mixing until incorporated. Add the melted cinnamon chips and whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Then, ice the cupcakes!

Sprinkle with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.

Source: http://www.sprinklemassacre.com/2011/10/06/mini-pumpkin-spice-cupcakes/

NOTE FROM SOFTA123:  I apologize for not posting this article sooner but real life interrupted.  I hope that this will not happen again, but I know better than to say never!


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ROSH HASHANA COUNTDOWN – DAY 5

Posted on September 24, 2011. Filed under: Cakes, Desserts, Honey, Jewish, Jewish Music, Jewish Prayers & Blessings, Kosher Recipe, Paerve, Parve, Recipes, Rosh Hashannah Recipes, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


The sound of the Shofar is music to our ears!

I am very proud to say that both my step-son-in-law and my step-grandson blow shofar and they join in with other members of their temple to sound it on Rosh Hashanah. My step-grandson, Marc, did an awesome job last year doing the bulk of the blowing. I am so proud of him. And I’m proud of my step-son-in-law, Jeremy, for instilling the traditions and the love of Judaism in Marc. I wish you could all hear Marc and Jeremy play. So I am dedicating this post to them.

To me, the sound of the shofar is sad yet somehow invigorating. I get choked up whenever I hear the shofar. It’s like a connection to all who came before me. I think I also get choked up because I know I should repent for what failings I have or had during the past years and I want to change but don’t know if I can, and when I was young, I would be standing with my younger sister between my parents to hear the sounding of the shofar and it was a moment of family togetherness. Now I stand next to my husband and feel his love for Judaism and me. Also I know that in a short while we will be sharing a delicious meal prepared by my step-daughter, Rhona. She’s a fantastic cook and a maven in the kitchen! Her challah cannot be beat!

Sadly, this year, we will not be joining Rhona nor my Mother and Aunt Hushie and Uncle Hockey nor our good friends Ellen, Gil and Sammy. Instead, we will join my step-son, Scott and my step-daughter-in-law, Lisa, and my step-grandchildren, Rachael and Josh. They don’t often get to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, so it is important for us to spend wonderful quality time with them. I look forward to seeing if Scott is going to make the matzah balls and if so, will they be from scratch or from a mix? It will be nice to be with them this year, especially because of Lisa’s return from the hospital and Paul’s return from the hospital too!

“The Bible calls the Rosh Hashanah, the day of the sounding of the Rams Horn.The Shofer is blown on all festivals and folkways. However legend has it that this was the day of which Adam was created out of clay. It was also the birthday of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. It was the day on which Joseph was released from prison in Egypt, and it was the day Moses appeared before Pharaoh demanding that the Egyptian king let our people go. The shofer is blown every day in the month of Elul except on the Sabbath and provides the most impressive moment of the morning service. The Shofer is usually made from a Rams horn although it may also be made from the one of any of any kosher animal except the cattle or an ox. The horn is boiled in water until it gets soft.

The inside is then hollowed out and the horn is flattened slightly. The mouthpiece is then carefully shaped and the horn is put aside to harden.. Sometimes the shofer is made very long and very curved.
In biblical times the shofer was used to herald great moments. It proclaimed the ascent of a king upon the throne, it announced the Jubilee every 50th year and the beginning of the Shabbat and festivals. The shofar is also associated with the jubilee year in which, every fifty years, Jewish law provided for the release of all slaves, land, and debts. The sound of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah announced the jubilee year, and the sound of the shofar on Yom Kippur proclaimed the actual release of financial encumbrances.
In wartime it signaled the army.” http://mysite.verizon.net/~vze32qgw/Rosh_Hashana.htm

“The shofar was blown in the times of Joshua to help him capture Jericho. As they surrounded the walls, the shofar was blown and the Jews were able to capture the city. The shofar was commonly taken out to war so the troops would know when a battle would begin. The person who would blow the shofar would call out to the troops from atop a hill. All of the troops were able to hear the call of the shofar from their position because of its distinct sound.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shofar

In post-Biblical times, the shofar was enhanced in its religious use because of the ban on playing musical instruments as a sign of mourning for the destruction of the temple. (It is noted that a full orchestra played in the temple.) The shofar continues to announce the New Year and the new moon, to introduce Shabbat, to carry out the commandment to sound it on Rosh Hashanah, and to mark the end of the day of fasting on Yom Kippur once the services have completed in the evening. The secular uses have been discarded (although the shofar was sounded to commemorate the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967) [2]

The shofar is primarily associated with Rosh Hashanah. Indeed, Rosh Hashanah is called “Yom T’ruah” (or “Yom Teruah”) (the day of the shofar blast). In the Mishnah, (book of early rabbinic laws derived from the Torah), a discussion centers on the centrality of the shofar in the time before the destruction of the second temple (70 AD). Indeed, the shofar was the center of the ceremony, with two silver trumpets playing a lesser role. On other solemn holidays, fasts, and new moon celebrations, two silver trumpets were featured, with one shofar playing a lesser role. The expert who blows (or “blasts” or “sounds”) the shofar is termed the Tokea (lit. “Blaster”) or Ba’al T’qiah (lit. “Master of the Blast”). Being a Ba’al T’qiah (shofar sounder) is an honor. Every male Jew is eligible for this sacred office, providing he is acceptable to the congregation. “The one who blows the shofar on Rosh Hashanah . . . should likewise be learned in the Torah and shall be God-fearing; the best man available.” If a potential choice will cause dissension, he should withdraw his candidacy, even if the improper person will be chosen. See Shulkhan Arukh 3:72. If a blind blower was dismissed, but the community did not find a blower as proficient, he should be appointed as community blower.

According to the Talmud, a shofar may be made from the horn of any animal from the Bovidae family except that of a cow or calf (Rosh Hashanah, 26a), although a ram is preferable. (Mishnah Berurah 586:1). Bovidae horns are made of keratin (the same material as human toenails and fingernails). An antler, on the other hand, is not a horn but solid bone. Antlers cannot be used as a shofar because they cannot be hollowed out.

In practice two species are generally used: the Ashkenazi and Sefardi shofar is made from the horn of a domestic ram, while a Yemeni shofar is made from the horn of a kudu. A Moroccan Shofar is a flat Shofar with no curves besides the main curve; years ago, when the Moroccan Jews were not allowed to practice Judaism, it was easy to hide it in their clothes because of its flat shape.

A crack or hole in the shofar affecting the sound renders it unfit for ceremonial use. A shofar may not be painted in colors, but it may be carved with artistic designs (Shulkhan Arukh, Orach Chayim, 586, 17). Shofars (especially the Sephardi shofars) are sometimes plated with silver across part of their length for display purposes, although this invalidates them for use in religious practices.

The horn is flattened and shaped by the application of heat, which softens it. A hole is made from the tip of the horn to the natural hollow inside. It is played much like a European brass instrument, with the player blowing through the hole, causing the air column inside to vibrate. Sephardi shofars usually have a carved mouthpiece resembling that of a European trumpet or French horn, but smaller. Ashkenazi shofars do not.

Because the hollow of the shofar is irregular in shape, the harmonics obtained when playing the instrument can vary: rather than a pure perfect fifth, intervals as narrow as a fourth, or as wide as a sixth may be produced.

In modern times, the shofar is used mainly on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is blown in synagogues to mark the end of the fast at Yom Kippur, and blown at four particular occasions in the prayers on Rosh Hashanah. Because of its inherent ties to the Days of Repentance and the inspiration that comes along with hearing its piercing blasts, the shofar is also blown after morning services for the entire month of Elul, the last month of the Jewish civil year and the sixth of the Jewish ecclesiastical year. It is not blown on the last day of month, however, to mark the difference between the voluntary blasts of the month and the mandatory blasts of the holiday. Shofar blasts are also used during penitential rituals such as Yom Kippur Katan and optional prayer services called during times of communal distress. The exact modes of sounding can vary from location to location.

In an effort to improve the skills of shofar blowers, an International Day of Shofar Study is observed on Rosh Chodesh Elul, the start of the month preceding Rosh Hashanah.

In times of National Liberation such as during the Ottoman and the British rule of Jerusalem, Jews were not allowed to sound the shofar at the Western Wall. After the Six Day War, Rabbi Shlomo Goren famously approached the Wall and sounded the shofar. “
Footnote:

2. Judith Kaplan Eisenstein, Heritage of Music, New York: UAHC, 1972, pp. 44–45.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shofar

It’s way past my bedtime, it’s 2:39 a.m. according to my computer’s clock. So let me leave you with this honey cake recipe.

Yet Another Delicious Honey Cake Recipe!

Honey Cake W/Fruit Ii (P, Tnt)
==============================
Source: Great Aunt Rose Markowitz

Serves: 20

Fruit Mixture:

1/2 pound prunes, pitted
1 small can pineapple chunks
1/2 pound golden raisins
1 small can peaches

Cake:

1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
8 eggs
1 pound honey
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sweet red wine
1 cup strong black coffee, cooled
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
1 jar maraschino cherries, drained
Additional whole pecans for top, optional

Make Fruit Mixture:

In work bowl of food processor, grind fruit and set aside. This will make more fruit mixture than you will need for one cake so you can freeze the remainder.

Make Cake:

Grease bottom and sides of a 10-1/2″x15-1/2″ baking pan (large roasting pan). Line bottom with waxed or baking paper. If using
waxed paper, grease waxed paper also.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In the large bowl of a mixer, cream shortening well, then add sugar and continue beating. Add eggs, one at a time, beating very well after each addition. Add honey, 3 heaping soup spoons full of ground fruit (remainder may be frozen for future use) and continue beating after each addition.

Sift flour, baking powder, and soda together, then add spices and
ground nuts. Combine wine and coffee. Alternate adding flour mixture
and coffee mixture to sugar/shortening mixture. Pour batter into baking pan.

Place cherries and nuts on top and bake for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Do not
open oven door until the cake has been in the oven for an hour, then
test for doneness. Cake will be done when it begins to move away from
the sides of the pan or a cake tester inserted into the middle comes
out clean. Remove cake from oven and turn it out onto a cooling rack,
remove the waxed or baking paper, turn again and cool.

Sue Epstein’s Notes: Great Aunt Rose Markowitz was the matriarch of the Epstein family. A family simcha wasn’t a simcha without one of her honey cakes… and for good reason… it’s wonderful! When Aunt Rose gave me this recipe she said she lines the pan with waxed paper. Aunt Esther insisted that Aunt Rose lined it with aluminum foil! Aunt Esther also sprinkled cloves over the top of the cake before baking and used exactly 30 whole pecans to decorate it. Today, I line the pan with baking paper and I miss their friendly arguments. This cake is as good today as it was more than 50+ years ago when Aunt Rose first started making it.

Posted by Sue Epstein

Servings: 20

SOFTA123’S NOTE: Please note that the photo of the coffee cake is a generic photo that I found on the Internet. It is not a photo of this recipe. Also I’d like to thank Sue Epstein for sharing this recipe with us and may her Aunt Rose rest in peace.

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ROSH HASHANAH COUNTDOWN – DAY 7

Posted on September 22, 2011. Filed under: Apples, Cakes, Chocolate, Cookies, Desserts, Ethnic Recipe, Family, Honey, Hope, Jewish, Jewish Prayers & Blessings, Kosher Recipe, Meat, Menu, Oranges, Paerve, Parve, Recipes, Rosh Hashannah Recipes, Side Dish, Traditions, Vegetables | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |


Sorry I didn’t have time to write a commentary today…lucky you! I just had time to put together this continuation of yesterday’s post as my husband has been in the hospital and was just released today. So here are the recipes I will be using this year for brisket, green beans, potato kugel, a sweet tzimmes and cocoa honey cake. Also included here are links for rugelach and honey-almond cookies recipes. At the end you will find the blessings for the holiday meals.

This year I want to try a different recipe for brisket. This is the one I have chosen. I found it at http://www.bonappetit.com.

A TRUE ROYAL FEAST--SPICED BRISKET WITH LEEKS AND DRIED APRICOTS

Spiced Brisket With Leeks And Dried Apricots
============================================
You’ll need to start marinating the meat at least a day ahead. It can be cooked up to two days before serving.

Makes 8 servings

Recipe by Rabbi Miriyam Glazer and Phyllis Glazer
Photograph by Maren Caruso
April 2006
Http://www.bonappetit.com

Ingredients:

2-1/2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 4 1/2- to 5 1/2 pound flat-cut (first-cut) brisket, well-trimmed
2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
24 whole dried apricots, divided
10 garlic cloves, peeled
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cups dry red wine
1 tablespoon matzo cake meal
Chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation:

Stir first 8 ingredients in small bowl.

Arrange brisket in large roasting pan; spread spice mixture evenly over both sides. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat broiler. Uncover brisket. Broil until brown, about 5 minutes
per side.

Turn brisket fat side up in pan. Set oven temperature to 325°F.
Sprinkle leeks, onion, 12 apricots, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves
around brisket. Pour wine over. Cover pan with heavy-duty foil and bake brisket until tender, about 2 1/2 hours.

Uncover; cool 1 1/2 hours. Transfer brisket to work surface. Pour
juices into large measuring cup. Spoon off fat, reserving 1 tablespoon.

Thinly slice brisket across grain on slight diagonal; overlap slices in 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon 1 cup degreased pan juices over brisket. Stir reserved 1 tablespoon fat and matzo cake meal in medium saucepan over medium heat 3 minutes. Add remaining degreased pan juices and remaining 12 apricots. Simmer until sauce thickens and boils, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead.

Cover brisket and sauce separately and chill.

Rewarm covered brisket in 350°F oven 30 minutes or 45 minutes if
chilled.

Rewarm sauce over low heat.

Sprinkle brisket with cilantro and serve with sauce.

This next recipe is for my tried and true potato kugel recipe that was the way my Grandmother made it, with a few modernized methods! I can’t have enough of potato kugel or potato latkes. Either is fine with me, although if I had to choose, I’d choose the latkes. ~Marilyn aka Softa123

I CAN NEVER GET ENOUGH POTATO KUGEL. I COULD EAT THE WHOLE THING!

Softa123’s Grandmother’s Potato Kugel and Latkes
========================================
1 large Onion
4 large Potatoes
1 Egg
1 tablespoon Matzah Meal (or flour)
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 drop of Oil
Pepper to taste

CATEGORIES: Side Dish, Passover, Yom Tov, Parties

Peel and quarter onion. Put into food processor. (Yes, I updated this ecipe just a bit!!) Peel and quarter potatoes. Process the potatoes with the onion with your steel blade till consistency of puree.

Continue till all potatoes are processed. Put potato-onion mixture into a strainer to drain off as much water as you can from it. Then, put the potato-onion mixture into a large bowl.

Beat the egg and add it to the potato-onion mixture. Also add 1
tablespoon of oil, and 1 HEAPING tablespoon Matzah Meal(or flour, if
not for Passover!)[Use a regular tablespoon, not a measuring tablespoon to measure the matzah meal.] Add Kosher Salt and pepper to taste. Mix all together. Pour into greased 9×13 inch pan and bake at 400 degrees for at least 1 hour. I like to bake longer because I like it really crusty!!

TO MAKE LATKES:

Follow directions above, but instead of putting into a pan and baking, heat 1/2 inch oil in a heavy frying pan and drop really
full large spoonfuls of batter into the oil and fry on one side until golden then turn over and fry on the other.

Line a plate with toweling or line a counter with a couple thicknesses of brown paper bags to drain the fried latkes on. Repeat till all of the batter is used.

I use vegetable oil or peanut oil to fry latkes in.

When making latkes you don’t need to add the extra drop of oil to
batter, but you do need it when making kugel.

Triple recipe for 12-18 people, small pieces.

I have never made a sweet tzimmes so I had to do some research. This recipe for a sweet tzimmes sounded interesting to me. I’m going to try it, so let’s hope it turns out for all of us!

This is about the right size dice for this tzimmes recipe.

Tzimmes
=======
By Leslie in Texas on April 10, 2003

Prep Time: 30 minsTotal Time: 1 hrs 15 mins

Servings: 6-8

“This is from the Houston Chronical’s food section entitled ” Feast at a Jewish Table”. The recipe was reprinted from The Hadassah Jewish Holiday Cookbook, a Compilation of fund raising cookbooks from Hadassah women around the country and Israel.” ~Leslie in Texas

Ingredients

2 medium carrots, coarsely diced
1 medium sweet potatoes or 1 medium yams, coarsely diced
1 large baking apples, seeded and coarsely diced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted margarine, melted
1/2 cup matzo meal
1/2 cup pitted prunes (optional) or 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
2 tablespoons sweet wine or 2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease an 11×7-inch baking pan. By hand or in
food processor in two batches, chop and mix all ingredients. Put in
prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

I wanted to try something different in the way of green beans this holiday, so, again I searched and searched and searched the Internet, finally I think I struck gold with this recipe for Paula Dean’s Fancy Green Beans.

PAUL DEEN'S FANCY GREEN BEANS

Fancy Green Beans

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Prep Time: 15 min
Inactive Prep Time: Cook Time: 15 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

• 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 tablespoon butter (Softa123’s Note: Use non-dairy margarine)
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
• 2 slices bacon (Softa123’s Note: Omit bacon or substitute beef frye.)
• 1/2 cup red bell pepper strips
• 1/2 cup thin onion wedges
• 1/2 cup whole cashews

Directions

In a small bowl, stir together the teriyaki sauce, honey, and butter.

Fill a bowl with cold water and ice cubes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the lemon juice. Drop in the beans and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until beans are bright green. Drain the beans in a colander and then plunge them into the iced water. Drain again and set aside.

In a skillet, cook the bacon until very crispy, crumble and set aside. Sauté the bell pepper and onion in the hot bacon fat for 2 minutes. Add the beans, cashews, and bacon to the skillet. Add the teriyaki-honey sauce and toss gently.

I am dying to try this next recipe. I guess I’m in the mood for changes this year, after all, as a female, I’m entitled to change things around!

COCOA HONEY CAKE


COCOA HONEY CAKE RECIPE

=======================
Ingredients:

2/3 cup honey
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon sliced almonds
1-1/2 cups flour, less 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tbsps. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup apple juice (or orange juice, or water)
1 pinch nutmeg (hefty pinch)

Directions:

Step #1 Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, & lightly grease 8 X 4 loaf pan.

Step #2 Line the bottom of the pan with greased parchment paper.

Step #3 Whisk flour with cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, & nutmeg.

Step #4 Place beaten eggs in another bowl, & add sugar & honey, beating until smooth & light in color.

Step #5 Gradually beat in oil until mixed.

Step #6 Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture alternating with juice (or water).

Step #7 Pour the batter into the prepared pan, & top this with sliced almonds.

Step #8 Bake 50 mins, or until pick comes out clean after inserting in center of the cake.

Step #9 Cool 15 mins, then turn out onto rack & peel off paper.

Step #10 Wrap in plastic when completely cool, then in foil wrap.

Enjoy the Cocoa Honey Cake recipe!

Another new recipe to add to my overflowing dbase is this brownie recipe. Paul and I absolutely love dark chocolate, so this is a must try in my house!

SUPER QUICK DARK CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

SUPER QUICK DARK CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
===================================
September 22nd 2011
Contributed by: joyofkosher.com

These better-for-you brownies are rich in chocolate, but balanced in sweetness by adding almonds, which also add a little crunch.

Times

Prep time: 10
Cook time: 25
Ready time: 35 min

Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped almonds

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 °F (180 °C).

In large bowl, combine sugar, cocoa powder, flours, baking powder and salt.

In separate medium bowl, combine eggs, canola oil and vanilla. Combine egg mixture into flour mixture, mixing well. Stir in chocolate chips and almonds.

Spread batter in lightly greased 8- x 8-inch (20 x 20-cm) baking pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack before slicing.

Source: Canola Info

Nutritients

Nutritional Information Quick Dark Chocolate Brownies Servings Per
Recipe: 16

Amount Per Serving Calories: 130 Total Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 15mg
Sodium: 55mg Total Carbs: 19g Dietary Fiber: 1g Protein: 2g

You can find the recipes for Rugelach and Honey-Almond Cookies at A Tzimmes

THE BLESSINGS FOR ROSH HASHANAH

Courtesy & Kindness of Chabad.Org

YOM TOV CANDLES - MAY THEY BURN BRIGHTLY FOR YOU!

Before the meal and its accompanying blessings, the woman of the house lights the Yom Tov Candles and recites the following blessing:

Blessing for Rosh Hashanah

Blessed are You, L-rd, our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to light the candle of the Day of Remembrance.

Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam Asher Ki-deshanu Be-mitzvo-tav Ve-tzvi-vanu Le-hadlik Ner Shel Yom Hazikaron.

Blessing For Rosh Hashanah when it coincides with Shabbat

Blessed are You, L-rd, our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to light the candle of Shabbat and of the Day of Remembrance.

Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam Asher Ki-deshanu Be-mitzvo-tav Ve-tzvi-vanu Le-hadlik Ner Shel Shabbat veShel Yom Hazikaron.

Shehechiyanu Blessing recited on the First Night of Rosh Hashanah after the main Blessing (above) is said

Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam She-heche-ya-nu Ve-ki-yi-ma-nu Ve-higi-a-nu Liz-man Ha-zeh

Kiddush

Before starting the Rosh Hashanah meal, we sanctify the holiday by reciting the kiddush over a cup of wine or grape juice.

When Rosh Hashanah occurs on Shabbat, say all the pre-Shabbat Kiddush prayers (such as Shalom Aleichem and Aishet Chayil) in an undertone before starting Kiddush.

On the second night of Rosh Hashanah, it is customary to place a new fruit [not yet eaten this season] before the one who makes Kiddush; he is to glance at it while reciting the Shehecheyanu (“Who has granted us life…”) blessing , bearing in mind that it applies to the new fruit as well.

Stand while reciting the Kiddush. Those listening to the Kiddush should respond “Amen” as indicated.

Take the cup of wine in the right hand and glance at the festival candles. The cup should be held at least three handbreadths (approximately 9 in.) above the table throughout the Kiddush.

On Shabbat, begin here.

The sixth day. And the heavens and the earth and all their hosts were completed. And G‑d finished by the Seventh Day His work which He had done, and He rested on the Seventh Day from all His work which He had done. And G‑d blessed the Seventh Day and made it holy, for on it He rested from all His work which G‑d created to function.1

On weeknights, begin here.

Glance at the wine and say:

Attention, Gentlemen!

Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. [Amen]

On Shabbat, add the words in parentheses.

Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has chosen us from among all nations, raised us above all tongues, and made us holy through His commandments. And You, L-rd our G‑d, have given us in love (this Shabbat day and) this Day of Remembrance, the festival of holy assembly,2 a day for (the remembrance of) sounding the shofar, (in love,) a holy assembly, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt. For You have chosen us and sanctified us from among all the nations, and Your word, our King, is true and enduring forever. Blessed are You L-rd, King over all the earth, who sanctifies (the Shabbat and) Israel and the Day of Remembrance. [Amen]

When Rosh Hashanah occurs on Saturday night, add the following:

Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who created the lights of fire. [Amen]

Glance at the festival lights, then continue:

Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who makes a distinction between sacred and profane, between light and darkness, between Israel and the nations, between the Seventh Day and the six work days; between the holiness of the Shabbat and the holiness of the Festival You have made a distinction, and have sanctified the Seventh Day above the six work days. You have set apart and made holy Your people Israel with Your holiness. Blessed are You L-rd, who makes a distinction between holy and holy. [Amen]

Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion. [Amen]

Pour some wine from the cup to be distributed to those listening, and drink at least 2 ounces of the remaining wine while seated.

FOOTNOTES
1. Genesis 1:31; 2:1-3.
2. V. Ramban, Leviticus 23:2; Sforno, loc. cit. 23:2-3.
On the second night of Rosh Hashanah, it is customary to place a new fruit [not yet eaten this season] before the one who makes Kiddush; he is to glance at it while reciting the Shehecheyanu (“Who has granted us life…”) blessing , bearing in mind that it applies to the new fruit as well.

New Fruit

APPLES IN HONEY - HAVE A SWEET YEAR!

On the second night of Rosh Hashanah, a “new fruit,” i.e., a seasonal fruit which we have not yet tasted since its season began, should be present on the table when the holiday candles are kindled and during the kiddush. While reciting the Shehecheyanu blessing after candle-lighting and after the kiddush, one should have the new fruit in mind.

This fruit is eaten following the kiddush, before washing for bread. Before partaking of the fruit we say the following blessing:

Ba-ruch a-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ha-olam bore pri ha-etz.

Blessed are You, L-rd our G d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the tree.

Challah in Honey

Immediately following the kiddush (and on the second night, the eating of the new fruit), we perform the ritual washing for bread. When everyone has returned to the table, we raise the two challah loaves and recite the Hamotzie blessing:

Ba-ruch atah A-do-nay, E-lo-hei-nu Melech Ha-Olam, hamotzie le-chem min ha-are-tz.

[Blessed are You, L-rd, our G d, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.]

Cut the challah, dip it in honey (some also dip it in salt), and have a bite. Pass around pieces and make sure everyone does the same.

Symbolic Foods

POMEGRANITES - MAY YOUR BLESSINGS BE MANY!

On the first night of Rosh Hashanah, after eating the challah with honey, it is customary to eat several foods which symbolize the type of year we wish to have:

We dip a piece of sweet apple into honey. Before eating it we say:

Ba-ruch a-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ha-olam bore pri ha-etz.

Blessed are You, L-rd our G d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the tree.

Ye-hi ratzon she-ti-cha-desh alei-nu shanah tovah u-m’tu-kah.

May it be Your will to renew for us a good and sweet year.

A pomegranate is eaten, symbolizing our wish to have a year full of mitzvoth and good deeds as a pomegranate is filled with luscious seeds.

FOOTNOTES
1.If it is Shabbat, the Shalom Aleichem and Aishet Chayil hymns are recited before kiddush in an undertone.
2.Halachically, the two days of Rosh Hashanah are considered as “one long day.” This idea led some halachic authorities to doubt whether the Shehecheyanu blessing, which is normally recited at the onset of a holiday day, should be recited during the candle-lighting and kiddush of the second day of Rosh Hashanah.
To dispel any doubt as to the validity of this blessing, we also have in mind the new fruit, whose consumption also requires the recitation of the Shehecheyanu blessing.

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ROSH HASHANAH COUNTDOWN – DAY 12

Posted on September 17, 2011. Filed under: Apples, Cakes, Chocolate Chip, Cookies, Desserts, Ethnic Recipe, Honey, Jewish, Kosher Recipe, My Ramblings, Recipes, Rosh Hashannah Recipes, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


Honey for Sweetness in All It's Meanings.

Today’s topic is honey. Since we eat honey on Rosh Hashanah I thought I would write a bit about the Jewish connection with this sweet. First of all, did you know that bees are not kosher? I didn’t. Who would have thought about it one way or the other? After all, who eats bees? Not I! But the paradox is that honey made from bees is kosher even though it is stored in the bee’s digestive sac. Did we really want to know that? Nah! 🙂 Anyhow, there is more to the connection of honey and Judaism than for symbolizing a sweet and good year on Rosh Hashanah.

Honey is supposed to be served with every meal, smeared on the bread over which we recite the “Hamotzi” blessing (“Hamotzi” is the blessing recited over bread every time you eat it, no matter if it is a holiday or a normal day.) from Rosh Hashana until after Sukkot, honey is served with every major meal. It is smeared on the bread over which we recite the “Hamotzi” blessing. A sweet apple is dipped into honey on Rosh Hashana and we eat dishes prepared with honey. Especially popular in Jewish homes is the honey cake.

The first mention of honey in Jewish writings is in the bible as one of the gifts sent by Jacob with his sons when they went down to Egypt to seek food during the famine as it was a valuable commodity during Biblical times.

The custom of honey on the Jewish table during the High Holiday period is an ancient and universal Jewish custom. It is already recorded in the works of the Babylonian Geonim (the presidents of the two great Babylonian, Talmudic Academies of Sura and Pumbedita, in the Abbasid Caliphate, and were the generally accepted spiritual leaders of theJewish community world-wide in the early medieval era, in the 7th century, and probably dates back to even much earlier times.

Throughout the the Tanakh (the Jewish bible), honey is mentioned in connection with the land of “Milk and Honey.” Today, Jews still refer to Israel as the land of “Milk and Honey.” What is interesting about this is that the honey in the Tanakh is thought by the Rabbis to be honey from dates and figs which grow well in the Middle East. But I didn’t even know that there was such a thing. I thought all honey comes from bees, didn’t you? So now, in that light, I can understand the reason why Israel is called “the land of Milk and Honey.”

Although honey was held in great esteem, there is a strict prohibition in the Torah against bringing an offering of honey on the altar of the Beth Hamikdosh (the Holy Temple). In this respect honey was treated like leaven, which was also forbidden. The Torah does not explain why honey was not to be offered at the altar. But in some holy sources one reason, at least, is given: Honey, like leaven, causes fermentation, and is symbolic of the unruly human nature, and of certain bad traits of character like pride, conceit, arrogance. The prohibition of bringing honey (and leaven) to the altar was to remind the people that G-d detests conceit and arrogance, but loves humility and self-discipline. On Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur we pray that G-d forgives us for such behavior, so I again wonder why we eat honey on Rosh Hashanah, again, another paradox. And with that thought, here are some recipes to try out for Rosh Hashanah this year.

Honey Apple Pie Recipe
======================
Honey apple pie is perfect for Rosh Hashanah, but you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy it year-round. A puff pastry crust is filled with spiced, honeyed Granny Smith apples and a streusel topping.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 tablespoon margarine or butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar

Filling:

3 pounds (about 8 to 9) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup margarine or butter (1/2 stick), melted and cooled to room temperature
1/2 cup honey

Topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
Cup ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold margarine or butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with non-stick
foil.

Roll out puff pastry between two sheets of plastic wrap to 11 x 15
inches, large enough to cover bottom and up sides of the pan. Place in the bottom of the foil-lined baking pan. Brush lightly with melted
margarine or butter. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons white sugar. Bake for 10 minutes.

Filling:

In a large bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss
sliced apples in flour mixture. Drizzle with melted margarine or
butter, and then honey. Toss again. Let rest while you make the
topping.

Streusel Topping:

Whisk together flour, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Place flour mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Add the cold margarine or butter cubes. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.

Toss the apple mixture again, then distribute in an even layer over
puff pastry in the baking pan. Sprinkle with the streusel topping
mixture.

Bake about 1 hour or until apple are tender.

Yield: 24 to 36 servings, depending on cut size

A Honey of a Chocolate Chip Cookie 4 U!

Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies
============================
By Bluenoser on August 20, 2005

Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 15 mins

Yield: 2 dozen

About This Recipe: “a different twist on this type of cookie”

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions

Cream butter and sugar, then add honey. Add egg and vanilla.
Add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by
teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 375F 10 minutes.

It's Time To Bake!

Soft Honey Cookies Recipe
=========================
Photo by: Taste of Home
Soft Honey Cookies Recipe

This old-fashioned cookie has a pleasant honey-cinnamon flavor and a tender texture that resembles cake. It has been a family favorite for years and I thought the recipe should be shared with your readers.

This recipe is: Quick

16 Servings
Prep: 15 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min.

Ingredients

1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 egg
3 tablespoons honey
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions

In a small bowl, beat sugar and oil until blended. Beat in egg; beat in honey and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to sugar mixture and mix well (dough will be stiff).

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute before removing from pan to a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 16 cookies.

Nutrition Facts: 1 cookie equals 77 calories, 2 g fat (trace saturated fat), 13 mg cholesterol, 29 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 1 g protein. Diabetic Exchange: 1 starch.

Soft Honey Cookies published in Reminisce Extra November 2008, p53

Get out the flour, the eggs and the honey...

Spiced Honey Cake Recipe
========================
115 g /4oz light brown sugar
150 g /5oz butter
175 g / 6oz clear honey
200 g /7 oz self raising flour
Half teaspoon each of: ginger, ground cloves, cinnamon
Quarter teaspoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon water
2 beaten eggs
350 g / 12 oz icing sugar

Method

Heat the oven to 180 °C / gas 4 / 350 °F, and grease a 900ml/ 1½ pint
fluted mold (Bundt Pan) .

Place butter, honey, sugar and water in a pan, and heat gently until
butter is melted and sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and
allow to cool.

Meanwhile, sift the spices with the flour. Make a well in the flour
mixture, then pour in the cooled honey mixture and the eggs. Beat until smooth. Pour into the tin and bake for 40 – 50 mins. until the cakes is well risen and golden brown.

To check the cake, insert a skewer into the centre – it should come out clean.

Variations: Substitute the honey with orange marmalade or apricot jam. Or, substitute the honey with marmalade with orange marmalade minus one tablespoon, which you can replace with maple syrup.

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ROSH HASHANAH COUNTDOWN: DAY 17

Posted on September 12, 2011. Filed under: Cakes, Dairy, Desserts, Ethnic Recipe, Honey, Jewish, Kosher Recipe, Recipes, Rosh Hashannah Recipes, Traditions, Winnie the Pooh | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


Food-wise, most Jewish people celebrate Rosh Hashanah with sweet foods, like apples dipped in honey, challah dipped in honey and honey cake, as a wish for a sweet year. Some families eat the head of a fish, symbolizing that we wish to be like the head and not like the tail and that we wish to have a year in which we are on top and not the bottom of the.

Pomegranates are widely eaten as a symbol of plenty as there are so many seeds that we cannot count them. By eating pomegranates, we hope for plenty of good health and happiness for the New Year, and as many good things as there are seeds in a pomegranate.

As part of our salad and our side dish we choose recipes rich in carrots. This is because for Ashkenazi Jews, carrots symbolize the Yiddish word “merren” which means “carrots” and also means “more.” We ask for more of all the good things in life. Of course, as I stated in a previous post, we eat Tzimmes as a side dish which is made of carrots and sweet potatoes. Most people make a sweet tzimmes which also symbolizes our wish for a sweet New Year.

To continue with our wishes for a Sweet New Year for everyone, here is today’s honey cake recipe.

It's soooo yummmy in my tummmmy!

Beekeeper’s Honey Cake Recipe
=============================
posted by Annie B. Bond Sep 18, 2002 4:26 pm
filed under: Food & Recipes, Desserts

Adapted from All American Desserts, by Judith M. Fertig (Harvard Common Press,
2003).

“Spices, dried cranberries, and walnuts added to moist honey-kissed cake make this a festive and delicious treat. Beekeeper’s Honey Cake is a keeper in more ways than one, since it will stay fresh and tender for weeks. “~ Annie B. Bond

INGREDIENTS

2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons canola or corn oil
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups wildflower or other medium-colored honey
1 cup sour cream
1 cup dried cranberries or sour cherries*
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Sliced almonds for garnish

*For Rosh Hashanah I’d use the dried cranberries or sweet cherries. You don’t want anything sour for the New Year! ~Softa123

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt or 10-inch tube pan, tapping out the excess flour, and set aside.

2. Sift together the flour, spices, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, beat together the melted butter, oil, and both sugars in a large mixing bowl until well blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the honey and sour cream all and once and beat until you have a smooth batter. Beat in the flour mixture, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the cranberries and walnuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

3. Bake the cake until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and let cool. As soon as the cake is cool enough to handle, press the flaked almonds into the top. Place the cooled cake in an airtight container to ripen for 2 days before serving.

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ROSH HASHANNAH BAKING COUNTDOWN: DAY 18

Posted on September 11, 2011. Filed under: Cakes, Chocolate, Desserts, Ethnic Recipe, Honey, Jewish, Kosher Recipe, Paerve, Parve, Recipes, Rosh Hashannah Recipes, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |


ROSH HASHANNAH COUNTDOWN: DAY 18

I didn’t know it before, but Rosh Hashanah, according to an interesting article I found on Chabad.org, “The Man In Man,” Rosh Hashanah is not the celebration of the beginning of the world, but it is the celebration of the creation of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, were created. That makes sense, because the world probably does not have a “thought” without the presence of a human being. Think about it…what else is nature has the ability is think, to talk and to write? Even during the days of the Caveman, we had a type of written communication to record the events that surrounded us. In other words, without mankind could there be history? Yes, there could be historic events, but what would they mean if they weren’t passed down from generation-to-generation?

Also, who would G-d have chosen to receive the 10 Commandments, to carry out the duties necessary to keep our world afloat? Yes, I am sure that G-d can do everything and anything, but isn’t it easier to have some help? G-d is not stupid. He is creative, just, and forgiving. He is like a good father.

Ok, so knowing this, and knowing the way my family currently celebrates Rosh Hashanah; I have come to an interesting thought. We celebrate as the beginning of our asking forgiveness for any sins we have committed through the year and we celebrate as if we are celebrating the creation of the world, asking for a good, healthy, sweet new year. But, we don’t begin fasting until Yom Kippur. Instead, we celebrate by going to temple and having festival meals. So, I asked myself, “How do we celebrate our wedding anniversaries?” We either go out to dinner or have a festive meal. If finances are good, we exchange gifts. And we have a special cake. The only differences between the way we celebrate our anniversaries and the way we celebrate Rosh Hashanah is that we don’t exchange gifts on Rosh Hashanah and we don’t go to temple on our wedding anniversaries. But, for both, we like to include a cake in our celebration. Thus, I wonder if having honey cake was originally part of an anniversary-type celebration for Rosh Hashanah. What do you think? Now, I am going to give you the recipe for the honey cake I want to try to make this year. It is from my recipe dbase and I have not tried it out yet.

Have a Honey of a New Year!

Cocoa Honey Cake Recipe
=======================
Ingredients:

2/3 cup honey
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon sliced almonds
1-1/2 cups flour, less 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup apple juice (or orange juice, or water)
1 pinch nutmeg (hefty pinch)
Directions:

Step #1 Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, & lightly grease 8 X 4 loaf pan.

Step #2 Line the bottom of the pan with greased parchment paper.

Step #3 Whisk flour with cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, baking
powder, ginger, & nutmeg.

Step #4 Place beaten eggs in another bowl, & add sugar & honey, beating
until smooth & light in color.

Step #5 Gradually beat in oil until mixed.

Step #6 Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture alternating with
juice (or water).

Step #7 Pour the batter into the prepared pan, & top this with sliced
almonds.

Step #8 Bake 50 mins, or until pick comes out clean after inserting in
center of the cake.

Step #9 Cool 15 mins, then turn out onto rack & peel off paper.

Step #10 Wrap in plastic when completely cool, then in foil wrap.

Enjoy the Cocoa Honey Cake recipe!

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TRADITION, TRADITION – THE RECIPES

Posted on September 7, 2011. Filed under: Cakes, Chocolate, Comfort Foods, Dairy, Desserts, Dinner/Supper, Ethnic Recipe, Parve, Poultry, Rainy Day Foods, Recipes, Rochester, Snacks, Soup, Traditions, Tried and True Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


One of the things I love about my religion is that after most services, we have a social hour called “the kiddish.”  Everyone gathers in the synagogue’s social quarters and a shot of wine is poured for each adult and a shot of grape juice for each child.  We say a prayer over the wine, thanking G-d for the fruit of the view and commence to drink our beverage down.  Then we say a prayer over challah (braided egg bread) and break bread together.  When I was a young girl, our synagogue always served herring tidbits, miniature gefilte fish balls, sponge cake and kichel (a dry plain cookie that is mostly air and has a sugar coating on top).  Today, most kiddishim have gotten more elaborate with their baked goods, but you don’t get herring or gefilte fish, and it is rare to see a sponge cake.  Even I don’t bake sponge cakes anymore except on Passover and even then I don’t make a traditional sponge cake, I make a banana sponge cake that our family loves.  But, for traditions’ sake, here is the sponge cake recipe I used to make:

NEVER-FAIL SPONGE CAKE

======================

Ingredients:

9 eggs, separated

1-1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup cake meal

1/4 cup potato starch

Juice and rind of 1 lemon or orange

Beat egg whites until they hold their shape; add sugar slowly. Beat yolks and add lemon juice and rind. Fold in cake meal and potato starch. Fold in beaten yolks. Pour into large size ungreased tube pan.

Bake in 325° or 350° oven for 50-60 minutes. Invert on cake rack and

let cool in pan.

This recipe comes from The Rochester, New York Hadassah cookbook.  It is truly a no-fail recipe and the only sponge cake recipe I ever used.  It is moister than most.  Try it, you’re like it.  Note that  this recipe cake be made for Passover also!  ~Marilyn Sultar

Now, I’m craving the cake!  Hmmm…maybe I’ll make it for Paul soon.  He’d love it with fresh strawberries and whipped cream!  It’s sad that we only make the banana sponge cake now.

For Thanksgiving, I love to make my turkey, but most of you don’t have microwaves like mine (may it last forever!!!!!!).  It’s huge; it is a combination microwave, convection, broiler that Paul and I bought when we first got married.  That makes it 25 years old now.  So, anyhow, I’ll just tell you have I make my basting sauce and tell you that no matter what, baste your turkey every half-hour.  Also, I stuff both cavities of the turkey with ½-1 orange which I squeeze into the turkey cavity first and 1 large onion cut into halves.  If I’m not making in the microwave, I then crush some aluminum foil into a ball and put it into the cavity to keep the onion and orange in there.  I repeat for the second cavity.

MARILYN’S TURKEY BASTING SAUCE

==============================

1 stick Butter OR Margarine

1-2 tbsps. Honey

1/4 cup Orange Juice

1/8 cup Wine (I prefer a sweet wine when I make this sauce)

1 tsp. Poultry Seasoning

1 tsp. Rosemary

1 tsp. Thyme

1 tbsp. Dried Parsley (less if you want to use Fresh Parsley)

1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder

2 tbsp. Dried Onion Flakes (optional)

Put margarine in small saucepan and put on lower heat to begin melting it.  As soon as it begins to melt, add the orange juice, honey and wine.  Stir a bit then add your spices.  Mix well.  Use to baste your turkeys!

I’ve been making my turkeys with this sauce that I made up since I can remember.  I love the bit of sweetness that the honey and wine imparts to the sauce!  Hope you enjoy it.  You can always adjust the seasonings to your own tastes!  ~Marilyn Sultar

My family has many traditions regarding food.  But the one thing we all agree on is that my maternal grandmother’s baked goods were awesome.  My mom’s an awesome cook too.  She just isn’t into it like grandma was.  My paternal grandma without doubt made the best chicken soup in the world.  Unfortunately since we can no longer get things like chicken feet, I cannot duplicate her soup, but I’ve been told that my chicken soup is the best.  If I make nothing else, my stepson and our closest friends who we celebrate the holidays with insist that I make my chicken soup with matzah balls.  So here is my chicken soup recipe:

A Tureen of Chicken Soup – Clipart from Bitsela.com

This recipe is being dedicated to my husband and Scott, Leo, Fernando and Alex!  They are my soup fans!

MARILYN’S CHICKEN SOUP RECIPE

=============================

2 soup (or roasting) Chickens*; each cut into 8ths and washed and cleaned of any feathers

1 lb. Gizzards; washed

1 lb. Chicken Wings; washed and cleaned of any feathers.

1 lb. Chicen Necks; washed

1/4-1/2 bag Petit Carrots

3 large Parships; washed, peeled and cut into slices (not too thin, not too thick)

2 large Onions; each peeled, washed and cut into quarters

2-3 stalks Celery; each washed and the ends cut off, then sliced (not to thin not too thick)

3 heaping tsps. Chicken Boullion Powder or 3 Cubes

1 heaping tbsp. Kosher Salt

1/4 tsp. Freshly Ground Pepper

4-5 Sprigs Fresh Parsley

1 tsp. Poultry Seasoning

Cold Water to cover everything in pot

*It is best to use Kosher Chickens in chicken soup as they have more taste than non-kosher chickens.

Put chicken into A HUGE STOCK POT first and then the rest of the chicken parts.  Cover with water making sure that there is enough water to also cover the vegetables!  Put up to boil on MEDIUM HIGH heat.

Add the vegetables then the spices and herbs.  Also add the chicken bouillon.  Stir everything together.  Bring to a boil.

Turn stove down to low for about 1/2 hour, then turn down to simmer for 4-6 hours, until chicken is cooked and vegetables are tender.  (DON’T OVER COOK AS YOU WILL BE REHEATING THE SOUP MOST OF THE TIME YOU MAKE IT.).  After it is ready, let it cool off enough to put into your refrigerator.  The next day, before you go to serve it, skim off the fat and add water, if necessary.  I usually find it necessary to add more.  Add your already cooked matzah balls and bring all to a boil, then put on simmer until ready to serve.

MATZAH BALLS:  Use the box mix!  It’s easier and just as good. However, if you wish, I do have a wonderful recipe I used to make before I discovered the box mix!!!  Enjoy!  ~Marilyn Sultar

One tradition I have with our friends Leo and Laura when we celebrate Chanukah together at their home is to make too much dessert!  This is one of those “too much dessert” recipes I’ve brought to their home!

CHOCOLATE PASSION BOWL

======================

Prep Time: 20 min

Total Time: 1 hr 20 min

Makes: 16 servings, about 2/3 cup each

What You Need

2 pkg. (3.9 oz. each) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding

3 cups cold milk

1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided

1 baked 9-inch square brownie layer, cooled, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 5-1/2

Cups)

2 cups fresh raspberries

Beat pudding mixes and milk with whisk 2 min. Stir in 1 cup COOL WHIP.  Place half the brownies in 2-qt. bowl; cover with layers of half each of the pudding, remaining COOL WHIP and berries. Repeat. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Kraft Kitchen Tips Note If desired, use BAKER’S ONE BOWL Brownies to bake a 13×9-inch brownie layer. Cut enough of the brownie into 1-inch cubes to measure 5-1/2 cups. Reserve remaining brownies for snacking.

Special Extra Chop 2 chocolate-coated caramel-peanut nougat bars (2.07 oz. each). Assemble dessert as directed, topping each layer of raspberries with layer of half the chopped nougat bars.

Substitute Substitute 1 pkg. (12 oz.) marble pound cake, cubed, for the baked brownie square and/or undrained thawed frozen raspberries for the fresh raspberries.

NUTRITION INFORMATION

Nutritional Information PER SERVING Calories 310 Total fat 12g

Saturated fat 4.5g Cholesterol 15mg Sodium 330mg Carbohydrate 49g

Dietary fiber 1g Sugars 35g Protein 4g Vitamin A 2%DV Vitamin C 6%DV

Calcium 6%DV Iron 8%DV

I made for a Chanukah Party at Leo and Laura’s about 2006.  I even have a photo of it, somewhere!  We all loved it.  I made the regular recipe.

Enjoy! ~ Marilyn Sultar

I tried hard to find a recipe from one of the best finds from our mystery trip, Red Osier Restaurant, in Stafford, New York.  As expected, I could not find any online nor in my dbase.  So, I will only say, if you want great food, especially prime rib, this is the place to go.  It’s got lots of atmosphere and is a great place to take a date or to take the family!

When we play games, we like to nosh, so here is one of my recipes for a great snack to have on hand when you play games with your family and friends!

Figure 1 Sea Horse by David W. Cobb

SEASIDE SNACK MIX

=================

7 ounces package Deep Sea-Shaped Cheddar-Flavored Snack Crackers

6 ounces package Tiny Fish-Shaped Parmesan Cheese Crackers

2 cups Oyster Crackers

1-1/2 cups Thin Pretzel Sticks; broken in half

CATEGORIES:  APPETIZES, SNACKS, PARTIES, KIDS, CHEESE/EGGS

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; toss gently.  Store in TIGHTLY COVERED container.

Yield:  10 1/2 cups.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION:

Calories:  120

Protein:        3 g

Carbohydrates: 17 g

Dietary Fiber:  0 g

Fat:            5 g

Polyunsaturated:    1 g

Saturated:          2 g

Cholesterol:    2 mg

Sodium:       300 mg

Potassium:     35 mg

Dietary Exchanges: 1 Starch, 1 Fat

This is a very easy, fast, wonderful recipe!  Everyone loved it!  I served it in children’s plastic sand pails lined with paper napkins and people served themselves with the matching sand shovels!  What a hit! I served it for the double surprise party we threw for Scott and Rhona on June 12, 1994.

Source:  Pillsbury Classics Cookbook #155, January 1994, “Appetizers And Snacks.” ~Marilyn Sultar

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TRADITION, TRADITION!

Posted on September 5, 2011. Filed under: Family, Friends, My Ramblings, Recipes, Rochester, Traditions, Tried and True Recipe, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |


 I just learned that my young friend Sammy is having an honor (an aliyah) bestowed on him at his synagogue this morning, so in his honor, I thought I would write about tradition(s).

Figure 1 Sammy and Gil at Rhona’s Birthday Party

The Free Dictionary defines the word “tradition” as “the handing down from generation to generation of the same customs, beliefs, etc., especially by word of mouth.”  But that negates the feelings that are inherent in the word “tradition.”  I would define it as the sharing of customs and beliefs by example and teaching.  Most traditions are good and have a modicum of warm fuzzies associated with them.  A person can have religious traditions, citizenship traditions and family traditions.  One may also have traditions with friends.  Traditions are between two or more people.  And, yes, you can have your own personal traditions, but they usually involve other people.

My religion teaches me many traditions, most importantly the tradition of close knit family and how to behave in a civilized world.  It governs my life cycle; how I was named, what my rite of passage was and how I married.  It will govern how I die.  It also governs my daily life and my spiritual life. My religion teaches me the importance of celebrating momentous occasions and many times teaches me how to celebrate those occasions.

Figure 2 Temple Beth Am, Henrietta, NY

My country teaches me the traditions of its laws, its values.  It further defines how I should behave in a civilized way.  My country teaches me a sense of community and a pride in belonging. It teaches me the preciousness of freedom. My country declares country-wide holidays (what we call “legal” holidays).

Figure 3 Statue of Liberty

My family teaches me most of my traditions, fine tuning the traditions of our religion and country to our way of life.  My family is really the core of my traditions and my celebration of all momentous and “legal” holidays.

Figure 4 Rhona Saying the Blessings Over Candles

My friends and I have traditions that we share.  My friends teach me how to share traditions and respect other traditions.  They teach me tolerance.

Figure 5 Fernando and Laura at Our Annual Chanukah Party Held at Their Home

My personal traditions are traditions that I create for myself and others. These traditions teach me creativity and the importance of all traditions that I follow in my life.

Figure 6 Rhona and Paul at a Restaurant in Kingston

So, what are some of my favorite traditions?

My favorite religious tradition is learning.  I love to learn about everything and that comes from a long line of people who love to learn.  Also, my favorite religious tradition is the retelling of the Exodus from Egypt at Passover time.  I love the symbolism and the rich poetry of the Haggadah, so I began giving a new Haggadah to my husband every year.  When we hold our own Seders, we use the Haggadahs that I have written.  That gives me a lot of pride.  Haggadahs tell the story of the Exodus and has special prayers of thanks to G-d.  Many Haggadahs include songs and poems.  We celebrate freedom.

Figure 7 A Sample of a Haggadah Cover

My favorite United States tradition is celebrating the Thanksgiving Holiday.  I love to take the time to be grateful, to spend quality family time and eat some great food.  I love to make turkeys.  It is my very favorite food to cook!  Lately though, we go to a restaurant so that no one has to bother with clean up.  All of us though prefer to celebrate it at home as the food is so much better there!  My Thanksgiving duties have now been taken over by the next generation.

Figure 8 Scott and Lisa at Thanksgiving Time

My favorite family tradition is playing games with my parents.  We usually played board games as we were growing up, but when I became an adult, we played more card games.  Of course, our favorite board game to play was Monopoly by Milton Bradley.  My favorite card game was and still is Euchre.  Today I would still enjoy playing board games, but the grandkids are into electronic games.  For a short while though, my youngest  grandson and I played an online MMORPG called Wizard 101 together.  But school interfered and he played less and less, so I cancelled my subscriptions and went back to my favorite MMORPG which is World of Warcraft.

Figure 9 The Monopoly Game I Played as a Kid

My favorite friend tradition was going over to our friend’s Leo and Laura’s to celebrate Chanukah.  Leo and Laura are more like family than friends and sadly they moved out-of-town last year and due to my own fault, we’ve lost touch.   But, Scott, Lisa and the kids and our friend, Rob would all gather at their house for a marvelous time.  Rob came all the way from Baltimore, Maryland to celebrate with us.  It’s been a long time since we saw him, but we still keep in touch.  We celebrated holidays together for many, many years, beginning when Leo and Laura’s eldest son, Fernando, was 4 years old.  Nando is now almost finished with medical school.  Alex I think graduated college this year.  I miss them!

Figure 10 Leo & Laura

My favorite personal tradition is trying out new restaurants with Paul.  We loved going on “mystery adventures” where we would get into the car, head out in a direction and set a time limit on our drive.  Then we would look for a restaurant that we hadn’t tried before.  We usually had good luck doing this and we sometimes took our friend, Joey, with us on these mystery treks.  Unfortunately, these drives had to end with the price of gas and our drastically reduced finances.  I miss them and I’m sure Paul does too!  And we lost touch with our sweet Joey, unfortunately.

Figure 11 We never used maps on our mystery treks.

Stay tuned for Part II of this article…some of my recipes that I equate with some of our traditions.

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