It’s Sunday night, Erev Rosh Hashanah, and Hebrew chatter fills the air of a Masonic center on Westwood Boulevard. Approximately a dozen round tables covered in white cloths fill the large room.
How life teaches us! We read the wisdom of books and study the lectures of professors and we think we are ready for what life brings us. Armed with our learning, we venture into the world and discover that the formulas of the brain don’t help bind the wounds of the heart.
Cooking has been a passion for me, and passing on my knowledge and experience to a new kosher audience is one of my greatest joys. When my two earlier books were published — “Kosher Cuisine” and “Helen Nash’s Kosher Kitchen” — that joy was mingled with regret at having to exclude so many more appetizing dishes and ideas about cuisine, nutrition and a healthful approach to everyday meals.
So this is where it all comes together — all the thought, all the planning, the testing. And the tasting, the tasting, the tasting. (That’s the best part). A simanim-inspired menu brings added challenges, but it also adds a level of meaning to your Rosh Hashanah meal. Simanim — literally it means signs or indicators — are meant to point the way to improved circumstances.
Breaking the fast has its own set of traditions. Ashkenazim usually break the fast with something salty, like herring, because they believe fish restores salt lost by the body while fasting. Herring also was the cheapest fish in Eastern Europe, where the custom originated.
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins this year at sundown on Friday, Sept. 26. It is a time to gather with family and friends and enjoy special holiday foods.