Wednesday, 8 September 2010


“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.” - Benjamin Franklin

Shana Tova Umetukah! A Happy and Sweet Jewish New Year, 5771. It is the first day of the Jewish new year today, the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. This is a high Holy Day as it is regarded as the birthday of creation and is celebrated on the first of the Jewish month of Tishrei. It is the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the birthday of mankind, highlighting the special relationship between God and humanity It is also a day of memorial, recalling to mind personal acts and reviewing events occurring since the beginning of time.  Synagogue services express hope for the future and feature the story of Abraham’s intended sacrifice of Isaac, with God’s intervention at the last moment to save the child and reward Abraham’s faith.

God’s providence is commemorated by the blowing of the ceremonial ram’s horn, the shofar, unless Rosh Hashanah falls on the Sabbath. The sounding of the shofar represents, among other things, the trumpet blast of a people’s coronation of their king. The cry of the shofar is also a call to repentance. At home, special prayers are recited for a good year ahead and wishes are pronounced over an apple dipped in honey, with the intention being for the year to be as sweet. A pomegranate is eaten, symbolising the wish to have a year full of mitzvot and good deeds as a pomegranate is filled with luscious seeds. Carrots are also eaten for their sweetness and because the Yiddish word for carrot, meren, means “to increase” and everyone wants all good things to increase during the year. Special round, smooth loaves of bread (challah) are baked symbolising the smooth and prosperous New Year to be.  Orthodox Jews observe the festival for two days. Today is the start of the Ten Days of Repentance.  Sabbath-like restrictions on work for both days (today and tomorrow) in both Israel and the Diaspora.

On this holiday, the faithful go to a lake, a river or to the sea and recite the Tashlich prayers, where symbolically the people cast their sins into the water, in evocation of the verse, “And You shall cast their sins into the depths of the sea”. Thus old shortcomings are left behind, and the new year is begun with a clean slate. As with every major Jewish holiday, women and girls light candles on each evening of Rosh Hashanah and recite the appropriate blessings. After the prayers each night and morning, a Kaddish is recited on wine, a blessing made over the challah, and a festive repast is enjoyed. Here is a typical Rosh Hashanah recipe:

Classic Honey Cake

3 Eggs
1 and 1/3 cups honey
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup strong black coffee
2 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3 tbsps. butter, softened
4 cups flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch gorund mace

•    Preheat the oven to 170˚C.
•    Grease and flour a 20 by 30 cm cake pan.
•    In a large mixer bowl, beat eggs and honey together.
•    Add sugar and mix again.
•    Mix coffee with baking powder, and then add with butter to the egg mixture.
•    Add baking soda, flour, and spices and beat together well.
•    Pour into greased cake pan.
•    Bake for 55 minutes to an hour.

Kaddish |ˈkädi sh | noun
An ancient Jewish prayer sequence regularly recited in the synagogue service, including thanksgiving and praise and concluding with a prayer for universal peace.
• A form of this prayer sequence recited for the dead.
ORIGIN: from Aramaic qaddīš ‘holy.’


  1. Happy new year... may the new year be one of peace, good health and happiness for us all, and may all the students get their reading done in time :)

  2. Happy New Year Nic!!!!
    The cake sounds yummy i'll try it this w/end!!!