Rosh Hashanah food on Web for the table or just for laughs

The Passover seder has matzah and maror. Chanukah nights are celebrated with latkes and sufganiot. But what about about Rosh Hashanah? While ushering in the Jewish New Year — which begins at sundown Friday, Sept. 26 — we grace our table with apples, honey and some of the sweetest dishes of the Jewish calendar. Today, food and the High Holy Days.

Actually, Passover isn’t the only holiday with a seder. One of the most interesting food-related customs of the holiday is the Yehi Ratzon or “May it be the will” Rosh Hashanah seder. The ceremony is described at

On the first night of the holiday, a series of foods is eaten whose Hebrew names have dual meanings. For example, the Hebrew word for black-eyed peas, rubyah, sounds like the Hebrew word for increase, yirbu. The peas are eaten and the following prayer is recited: “May it be the will of our Heavenly Father that our merits increase.”

Other foods in the Rosh Hashanah seder include carrots, fenugreek, beets, dates and gourds. We eat pomegranates so “… that our merits increase like (the seeds of) a pomegranate,” apples and honey so “… that You renew us for a good and sweet year” and the head of a fish or sheep so “… that we be as the head and not as the tail.” An explanation is at

Looking for something to eat with your sheep’s head? There are plenty of Web sites bursting with New Year’s suggestions. Try a Turkish Rosh Hashanah menu — from — with Pan de Calabraza (Pumpkin Bread) and Keftes de Prasa (Leek Croquettes). Mimi’s Cyber Kitchen will tempt you with Beef Brisket with Onion Lemon Marmalade and a sinful (perhaps I shouldn’t use that word in a Rosh Hashanah article) Chocolate Babka at


But the bubbe of all lists belongs to the archives, where — at — you will find almost 200 Rosh Hashanah recipes. If you’re still hungry, check out the Jewish-food High Holidays Archives at

If you prefer to enjoy your holiday meals without meat, you may want to pick up the “Jewish Vegetarian Year Cookbook” by Roberta Kalechofsky and Rosa Rasiel. You can read a review of the cookbook online and sample two of their offerings: Mock Chopped Liver and Van Gogh’s Potatoes at

Speaking of vegetarianism, Richard Schwartz — — suggests that Rosh Hashanah is the ideal time to switch to a meatless diet.

This year, on the second afternoon of Rosh Hashanah —

holidays/rosh/tashlich.htm — Jews will go to a nearby stream or body of water to perform the ritual of Tashlich. Prayers are recited and sins are symbolically tossed into the depths. Some people even shake out the hems of their clothing while others toss breadcrumbs into the waters. With that in mind, here’s a tongue-in-cheek look at the custom.

Taking a few crumbs on Rosh Hashanah to throw into the water for the Tashlich ceremony from whatever old bread is in the house lacks subtlety, nuance and religious sensitivity. Instead, this coming Rosh Hashanah consider these options, courtesy of

• For ordinary sins — white bread.

• For sins committed in haste — matzah.

• For immodest dressing — tarts.

• For causing injury or damage to others — tortes.

• For committing car theft — caraway.

• For substance abuse — stoned wheat.

• For being holier than thou — bagels.

• For sins of pride — puff pastry.

• For unfairly upbraiding another — challah

• And for wearing tasteless hats — Tam Tams.

Enjoy your soul food, and have a very happy and healthy year.

warning: Since I first stumbled across this site a few years ago, the list has lengthened and the puns have worsened! See

sermonics/tashlich.html for a host of others.

Mark Mietkiewiezis a Toronto-based television producer who writes, lectures and teaches about the Jewish Internet. Reach him at [email protected]