Featured Post

A Raisin Celery?

Fish heads for the faint of heart and other oddities that unite the Jewish people at New Year's

Getting many, many Jews together usually spells trouble. So with millions of Jews set to celebrate Rosh Hashanah this week we gathered a few unusual customs to help smooth out the experience and make the most of our people’s creative and eccentric talents. Here’s to adding some unusual meaning and spice to the apples and honey in 5774:

1.  Gummy Fish Heads:  Does having a real fish head on your table seem unappetizing? You’re not alone! Many have begun displaying gummy fish as a more appealing alternative on the table and wishing each other a sweet start to the year ahead.

2.  Who Needs Sleep? A tradition developed many generations ago to avoid napping on Rosh Hashanah so that you won’t have a ‘sleepy’ year ahead.  But some, perhaps hoping kick the caffeine addiction, are turning that minhag on its head and making sure to enjoy a nap on the chag as a blessing for a restful year to come!

3.  Honey…all year long!  Many have the tradition of dipping challah in honey, as opposed to salt, at their Rosh Hashanah meals.  Expanding on this custom, some newlyweds have added honey to their challah for the entire first year of marriage as a wish for many sweet ones ahead.

4. Looking for a raisin celery? More and more people are putting a piece of celery with raisins on their Rosh Hashanah table – a blessing for a ‘raise in salary’!

5. Making charity count for generations: Rosh Hashanah is one of the most charitable times of the Jewish year. We help others celebrate by supporting the needy, and many make their annual donations at this time, especially in the run up to Yom Kippur. But you can spread the wealth even further by sharing a portion of your donations with your children. Instead of distributing it all by yourself, give children a portion of the sum to donate. It’s one of the more meaningful things you can do together, and helps empower them to make charitable decisions – both now and for years to come.

Wishing you a year of peace, health and success, and one in which the Jewish people’s differences bring us laughter and joy instead of too much oy.

Add your own customs in the comments section for others to enjoy!

About the Author
Yoni Sherizen is a director of Gesher, a Jerusalem-based organization devoted to bridging the differences between Israelis and strengthening a shared Jewish identity.