Friday, September 22, 2006

L'Shanah Tovah

L'Shanah Tovah, and happy new year! Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the year 5767 on the Jewish calendar, and a happy, healthy and sweet one to all of you. Being a baking Jew, I am, of course, making a round extra-honeyed challah this afternoon, using my own recipe from the Honey book. Rosh Hashanah challahs are sweeter and richer, being celebratory, and are usually filled with golden raisins or other dried fruits, all which makes for the best french toast ever a couple days later. This loaf is sweetened with some of the mountain Ozark honey brought back from Eureka Springs. Honey also makes a lovely glaze on the finished loaf, particularly nice if you're bringing some to a friend's house as a New Year's gift. Some fresh apples, a little jar of honey, and a fresh challah roll makes a perfect little housewarming gift at this time of year.

There aren't a lot of Jews on the base where K. is, but nonetheless the Army got a rabbi in from Atlanta to hold services this weekend, and K., thoughtful and interested in religion as she is, went to the shabbat/erev Rosh Hashanah service on Friday night. The rabbi wore a camoflage-print yarmulke and brought dried apples, honey, and Manischevitz wine with him. Ramadan, the month-long Muslim holiday that calls for daily sunrise-to-sundown fasting, is starting soon too. Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement which follows a week after Rosh Hashanah, is also marked by a day of fasting, from sundown to sundown.

Until then, though, sweet things are encouraged, to represent wishes for a sweet year. Nothing sour, nothing bitter, just ripe, golden, and sweet, warm and welcoming as a loaf of new bread.

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