Rosh Hashanah 2022: Celebrate the Jewish New Year with traditional food

PHILADELPHIA– Ronit Treatman and her family members take pride in pouring weeks of work into a very special meal.

“At least two weeks of work between shopping and cooking,” she says.

Time is necessary because the feast is one where every item on the menu has meaning.

“Pumpkin, leeks and beats,” she said, pointing to the produce on her dining room table. “They all symbolize the desire for peace.”

The traditional foods are used to celebrate one of the most important days in the Jewish calendar: Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

“These are the days when we take account of our souls,” she said. “Make us and the world a better place and have a better year next year.”

Treatman prepares each of their dishes in a traditional manner similar to how it has been done for thousands of years, including preparing biblical fruit honey that does not use honey from bees.

But Treatman, who is a board member of the American Jewish Committee, recognizes that not every Jewish faith can learn all traditions.

“I work with the descendants of forced converts in Spain and Portugal, and some of them are interested in learning more about the traditions of their ancestors,” said Treatman, who is originally from Israel.

Treatman has family origins in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Her work with people in Hispanic and Latino cultures also gives her a broader view of her faith.

“I believe in a celebration of the diversity of the Jewish people,” she said.

Treatman demonstrated this when she self-published a book called Hands-On Jewish Holidays last year. Originally developed the idea of ​​writing a book for her children, the book describes Jewish holidays with cooking, crafts and customs.

“We say Shana Tova,” she said. “Have a happy and sweet new year.”

It’s not just a different Jewish New Year greeting, but a whole different year that’s not 2023.

“It’s 5783 for us,” Treatman said.

This year is set to be significant as the country emerges from the pandemic.

“This will be a year of togetherness,” she said.

It makes sense as Jewish families gather in synagogues and around traditional tables with traditional dishes.

“Apples are to be wished for a sweet new year. We usually dip them in honey,” Treatman said.

She also explained the whole fish and separate fish head at the table.

“The fish head is when we say we are allowed to be heads and not tails… we should think for ourselves.”

The fact that Treatman can keep their traditions alive explains why their table and heart are so full.

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Russell Falcon

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