Rosh Hashana planning – 2 weeks out (simanim)


Time to get thinking about Rosh Hashanah more seriously. I have done most of the things on my early prep list.

Now it’s time to menu plan! On Rosh Hashanah, we have different minhagim about what foods we eat to make a yehi ratzon (May it be Your will…) on, or simanim. The wishes range from destroying our enemies (dates) to having lots of children (fish). (Here is a good resource for the text and some more information on these customs, and recipes). We want our year to be good and sweet so we eat those foods. We don’t want a sour or bitter year, so we avoid those flavors. (Some also avoid nuts, which has to do with the Hebrew word being similar to the word for “sin.”) The most common simanim (in the US, at least!) seem to be apples, honey, and round challot. Many people also add carrots.

My husband is Sephardi, so we follow those traditions and use:

  • Round Challot (check out this cool tutorial on making your own)
  • Apples (how about these awesome apple roses? My kids prefer them raw, though…)
  • Honey
  • Dates (we eat them raw, but you could stuff them with nuts and rose water)
  • Banana (or other vegetable not normally eaten with meal)
  • Leek (try leek patties, leek soup, or a leek pie)
  • Swiss Chard (maybe a simple saute, or in a soup)
  • Black eyed peas (or fenugreek) (lubiya)
  • Gourd (e.g. squash, pumpkin) (try pumpkin muffins, pumpkin peanut soup, maybe zucchini bread)
  • Pomegranate (good for sauces or raw)
  • Head of the fish/lamb/ram (OK, fish head it is. That’s about what I can cope with here!)
  • New fruit (2nd night)

By the time we get through those, we often don’t have much room for other food! I try to use the same foods in a more recognizable form for the simanim seder itself (just a little for each person) and then to make a bigger portion for the actual seuda meal. Off to my recipe hunt I go!

I just came across these simanim recipes from Joy of Kosher. Yum!

Any good recipes to recommend?


About Amital

A die-hard listmaker and observant Jewish mommy of 5, managing the challenges of life bit by bit with the help of a Shalom Bayit book and lists. And chocolate, of course. Lots of chocolate.

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