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’s family traded in mountains for beaches when they moved in her pre-teen years to Sugar Land, Texas. Emily graduated from UT Austin with degrees in Journalism and Psychology. She earned a minor in Spanish, which served her well when she went on a soul-searching journey for six-months to Bilbao, Spain. Shortly after returning, Emily met her husband, Oren, by mistake on Facebook – her favorite mistake of all time! They struggled for a while with infertility and grieved a few miscarriages, but they were ultimately rewarded with their beautiful son Mayer {June 2013}. Their next baby, Juliet {April 2015}, was an unexpected, but welcome surprise. However, her traumatic arrival into the world almost took her life, along with Emily’s. Fortunately, they both made complete recoveries, and they now have a very special bond. After all her baby struggles, Emily, who has experience as a newspaper reporter and in technical writing, chose to stay at home with her little loves. She is also currently a freelance writer. In her free time, she loves to read, write, cook, work on her physical fitness, and fantasize about traveling. To read more of her work, visit her web page EmilyBFeinstein.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook, and Instagram {@ebfeinstein}.

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