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A Simanim Filled Menu For Rosh Hashanah


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Simanim Inspired – Taste your way into a blessed new year.

Simanin (literally signs or indicators) are foods that we eat on Rosh Hashanah to symbolize our hopes for the coming year. I like to work simanim into my Rosh Hashanah recipes for the added blessing, sweetness, and mazal they represent.  This menu is exquisite in its simplicity and great-tasting dishes.

apple challah

Individual Apple-Stuffed Challah

“May it be Your will, Hashem, our G-d and G-d of our fathers, that You renew for us a good and sweet year.”

When our patriarch Yaakov masqueraded as Eisav to obtain his rightful “firstborn” blessing from his father, Yitzchak, he donned Eisav’s cloak.
Yitzchak exclaimed, “the fragrance of my son is like the fragrance of a field that G-d had blessed” and blessed Yaakov. The Talmud identifies the
fragrance as an apple orchard, and the Vilna Gaon says this happened on Rosh Hashanah. We eat apples (tons of them) because we too want
those holy blessings given to Yaakov.  Use your favorite challah dough recipe, hopefully it’s my heaven-on-earth challah-recipe or you can use store bought frozen challah dough.

Non dairy Creamy Carrot Soup

Creamy Carrot Soup

“May it be your will, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers that our merits increase.”

Carrots are a siman for an increase in our spiritual merits. It’s a play on words; carrots in Yiddish are merren which also means “many.” Wishing that we had more mitzvos on our record this time of year isn’t a shoulda-coulda-woulda guilt trip. It’s a commitment for the future.

Date and Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs

Date and Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs

“May it be your will, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers that our enemies be consumed.”

Dates in Hebrew are tamarim, a play on the word yitamu, “[may our enemies be] destroyed.” Finished. Yesterday. And you don’t have to be a child to love Winnie-the-Pooh’s “hunny.” The ultimate symbol of sweetness, we consume honey as we pray for a “good sweet year.”

Whole Wheat Stuffing with Leeks

“May it be your will, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers that our enemies be decimated.”

Leeks are a siman for the decimation of our enemies. The Hebrew word for leek—karsi is similar to the word yikorsu, “[may our enemies be] decimated.” Spinach, swiss chard, and beets are also meaningful as their Arabic or Hebrew translations are reminiscent of the Hebrew word yistalku, “[may our adversaries be] removed.” And if you think you see a lot of emphasis on escaping from hostile threats, just think about Jewish history for a minute.

Roasted Apple Brisket

Roasted Apple Brisket with Pomegranate Glazed Carrots

“May it be your will, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers that our merits increase like (the seeds of) a pomegranate.”

Pomegranate Glazed Carrots

Pomegranates are a siman for increasing our spiritual merits, weighing in to be more worthy of G-d’s blessings. In this case, it’s not the name of the fruit but its character that creates the siman. All those seeds! If only we had as many good deeds to our credit!

Since the custom of eating apples revives our memory of Biblical blessings, let’s combine it with a more recent, beloved tradition. Nu, what’s a Yuntif without brisket?

Chocolate Cake with Pomegranate Swirl

Chocolate Cake with Pomegranate Swirl

There are lots of other simanim we could use—fish heads, sheep heads, gourd, or black-eyed peas—but they’re not all that appetizing for a dessert.  (Serve those early in the game, while everyone is still hungry.)  For dessert, I tapped the trusty pomegranate once more—finish your
Rosh Hashanah meal with a super siman swirl!

Individual Apple-Stuffed Challah
Creamy Carrot Soup
Date & Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs
Whole Wheat Stuffing with Leeks
Roasted Apple Brisket
Pomegranate Glazed Carrots
Chocolate Cake with Pomegranate Swirl

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About Jamie Geller


Jamie Geller is the only best-selling cookbook author who wants to get you out of the kitchen – not because she doesn’t love food – but because she has tons to do. As “The Bride Who Knew Nothing” Jamie found her niche specializing in fast, fresh, family recipes. Now the "Queen of Kosher" (CBS) and the "Jewish Rachael Ray" (New York Times), she's the creative force behind JoyofKosher.com and "Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller" magazine . Jamie and her hubby live in Israel with their five busy kids who give her plenty of reasons to get out of the kitchen - quickly. Check out her new book, "Joy of Kosher: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes."




4 Responses to A Simanim Filled Menu For Rosh Hashanah

  1. Hey Jamie–would love, love, love an Android Joy of Kosher app. Coming soon, maybe?

  2. Beautiful post and such wonderful recipes! Thanks!

  3. avatar says: ItaAriela

    Hi Jamie, thank you for the great ideas for a Rosh Hashana menu.

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