Dipping Apples in Honey: Celebrating an Extra Sweet Rosh Hashanah

 

The other day, as I was putting away laundry, I heard my six-year-old singing a popular Rosh Hashanah song that I’ve heard thousands of times throughout my life:

“I like to hear the shofar blast.

Sometimes slow and sometimes fast!

I like to hear the shofar blast.

Happy happy New Year!”

My first thought when hearing her sing, was “wow, that’s adorable.” Then, I began to feel happy, and, honestly, relieved that she knows that song {which she just learned this week} and can sing it around this time of year. Let me back up a little bit. 

My family just moved back from a two-year relocation assignment in France, and while we had the time of our lives living there, there was a major component lacking: a Jewish community {there was a small one, but not geared towards children}. Therefore, on every major Jewish holiday, it was up to me to teach my kids about our traditions, make the foods, and celebrate as a party of four inside our home. 

While I was happy to take on that role, I knew I wasn’t the best person for the job. I also felt a tugging sadness for my children not being able to celebrate these holidays with their extended family, or even with other children their age at religious school. 

Now that we are back in Houston, and quickly re-integrating into our dearly missed Jewish community, this component of our lives feels so rightfully restored. And coincidentally, our first Jewish holiday to celebrate at home, just happens to be one of the happiest and most hopeful ones: Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year.

Rosh Hashanah, just like any customary new year, is a time of great joy and gratitude. It celebrates the creation of mankind, all the way back to Adam and Eve. It also initiates a time of self-reflection, a means to acknowledge our mistakes and learn from them. Most importantly, we see it as a second chance {or a 50th!} to do better and try harder the next year.

There are many symbols surrounding this holiday, the shofar being front and center. A shofar is a ram’s horn trumpet that is sounded {blown, in specific patterns} around Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – a holy day that follows ten days after the new year.

Kids are often given a plastic version of a shofar during synagogue services to blow at the end – a very loud and noisy event, as you can imagine. Blowing the shofar officially announces the new year, and I love that children have a chance to help “bring it in,” along with everyone else. 

Another symbolic custom includes dipping apples in honey, which signifies the wish for everyone to have a sweet new year. This has always been my favorite food-based tradition on Rosh Hashanah, and one that most kids would never turn down.

This year, our apples and honey will taste especially sweet for me, because we will finally gather {safely, of course} for a celebratory meal with the loved ones we have missed the most. We will return to our familiar and beautiful synagogue, where we will pray and sing and feel like a community again, even if we will all look a little different with our masks. We will hear the shofar blast, as the lunar year of 5782 commences.

These past few years have been difficult and tragic for the entire world. Despite our differences in religion, political beliefs, language or culture, we are ultimately one big community, and I believe that sharing the positives of our faiths with one another can only help us see the good in people. Plus, we can never get enough of good vibes sent our way. So, as I celebrate one of the most joyful days in my faith, I invite you to dip some fresh, crisp apples into some gooey honey, and I wish you all L’Shanah Tovah u’Metukah: a good and sweet year.


 

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Originally from Denver, Colorado, Emily moved to Sugar Land, Texas as a young girl. She studied journalism and psychology at UT Austin, and has experience in newspaper reporting, technical writing, and freelance writing. When she can, she works on writing her first-ever book. Somehow, Emily randomly ends up living abroad for short stints of time. In 2007, while attempting to heal a broken heart, she moved to Bilbao, Spain, and completed a six-month work-study program. Despite swearing off serious relationships, her husband, Oren, swooped in shortly after her return. They struggled with infertility, but were ultimately rewarded with their two precious children, Mayer {June 2013} and Juliet {April 2015}. In 2019, Emily’s family relocated to Montpellier, France, for Oren’s job. They managed to learn the language, forever spoiled their taste buds, and saw some really beautiful things. Now back in Houston, they are eating all the Tex-Mex and enjoying family.

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