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InterfaithFamily Guide to the High Holy Days: High Holy Days Food

Return to the InterfaithFamily Guide to the High Holy Days.
 

High Holy Days Food

What delicious foods are customary for the High Holy Days?

We have a great online recipe index with dozens of recipes and fun food ideas, which you can find here. And check out our Food Blog for the latest recipes for the holidays and every day in-between.

 

Start of Rosh Hashanah Dinner

Many families gather for a special dinner the evening of Rosh Hashanah. If they’re also attending the synagogue evening service that begins the holiday, they may have this meal on the early side, so everyone can get to the synagogue on time. Some families just have people over for a meal and don’t go to synagogue at the start of Rosh Hashanah.

Round Sweet Challah

High Holy Days Food Roung Challah

The tradition is to start the meal with challah bread dipped in honey. Challah is the special, braided bread that is generally used as part of meals on the Jewish Sabbath. It’s usually oblong and braided. Because Rosh Hashanah celebrates the Jewish New Year, the custom is to use a round challah bread often times with raisins. The circular shape symbolizes the cycle of the years and the raisins represent a sweet new year.

During Jewish holidays, the start of a celebratory meal begins with a blessing giving thanks for bread, followed by everyone enjoying some challah. At all other times of year, the custom is to sprinkle some salt on the challah before everyone has a piece. But, at a Rosh Hashanah meal, the custom is to dip the pieces of challah in honey, again, in order to symbolize everyone’s hopes for a sweet new year! (You can see a video demonstration of three ways to make a round challah from scratch here and a recipe here.)

End of Yom Kippur Dinner

As we discussed above, the other major holiday during this season is the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, which takes place ten days after Rosh Hashanah. Yom Kippur is a fasting holiday, but when Yom Kippur ends, there’s a tradition of having a “break-the-fast” meal. This meal is often set up as a buffet table with foods that are light and easy to digest. Find our recipes for Yom Kippur break-the-fast here.

 

The InterfaithFamily Guide to the High Holy Days is also available in PDF. 

Hebrew for "Head of the Year," the Jewish New Year. With Yom Kippur, known as the High Holy Days. Hebrew for "Day of Atonement," the final of ten Days of Awe that begin with Rosh Hashanah. Occurs during the fall and is marked by a 24-hour fast. One of the most important Jewish holidays. Derived from the Greek word for "assembly," a Jewish house of prayer. Synagogue refers to both the room where prayer services are held and the building where it occurs. In Yiddish, "shul." Reform synagogues are often called "temple." A bread that comes in a few different varieties; its most common variation is a braided egg bread, though there are water challahs that don't have eggs, and there are whole-wheat challahs which sometimes also don't have eggs. It is customary to being Sabbath and holiday meals by saying blessings and eating challah.
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