Categorized | Rosh Hashanah

Jewish Celebration and Holidays

Posted on 25 July 2010

Your C.H.A.G. Rosh Hashanah Guide courtesy of the JLO Yom Tov Planning Center


The First word in the acronym CHAG is Cuisine. Let’s start with the food.

Planning for Rosh Hashanah in the summer? Believe it or not, I begin working on my Rosh Hashanah plans in July. I wait until after Tisha Bav to actually begin cooking, and all of my meal plans and checklists are written before Tisha Bav.

That’s because I don’t like the feeling of Yom Tov creeping up on me. Especially a holiday as important as the High Holidays. And think of it this way, if you have the “physical” aspect of the holiday all planned out and prepared, you will be able to concentrate on the “spiritual” side of the High Holidays. After all, isn’t that what the High Holidays are all about?

We’ll start with

  • When Rosh Hashanah falls out this year
  • Tips for planning the Holiday
  • What you can do to making planning, shopping, and cooking all of your meals MUCH easier

Rosh Hashanah Dates

If you want to always know when the dates to the Jewish Holidays are, I recommend you get a copy of a program called Chagim. Download it into your computer, pda, phone and always know when the Jewish Holidays are, and when they were years ago or years in advance. You’ll ALWAYS be in the know.

Rosh Hashanah Planning Tips

Here’s what you need to do to get your meals perfectly organized for Rosh Hashanah.

1. Begin thinking about how many meals you need to cook for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur pre and post fast, Sukkos and Chol Hamoed Sukkos, Simchas Torah, and Shmini Atzeres. Sit down and plan your meals through Simchas Torah.

Open up your favorite cookbooks and select recipes that work well together. Recipes that work together not only refer to “tastes” but also to commonly used ingredients. In the following meal plan, you can see that I use similar ingredients for different recipes: such as beets, pineapple, rice, honey, cabbage, squash and carrots.

It is easier on me to chop everything at once, place all cut items into clear Ziploc bags, refrigerate and then assemble into recipes as I make them.

Rosh Hashanah Meal Plan

Wednesday Night Thursday Lunch Thursday Night
Salmon Gefilte Fish Muffins Salmon
Chicken Soup Apple Compote Beet Stew
Teriyaki Chicken Polynesian Chicken Pepper Steak
Wild Rice Sweet Potato Tarts Wild Rice
Apple Compote Beet Salad Carrot and Squash Souffle
Friday Lunch Friday Night Shabbos Lunch
Gefilte Fish Muffins Salmon Gefilte Fish Muffins
Pomegranate Salad Chicken Soup Pomegranate Salad
Polynesian Chicken Chicken Chow Mein Pepper Steak
Wild Rice Fruit Salad Apple Kugel Rice
Apple Compote Noodles and Cabbage Apple Kugel

Here is my Rosh Hashanah 2008 meal plan. Feel free to use it at your own High Holiday Table. I’ve selected my ingredients from a cookbook called “The Heimishe Kitchen”, but the recipes are simple and can be adapted however you like. Email me if you’d like specific instructions on some of the recipes.

Quick Grocery List at a Glance

cherry pie filling


strawberry jello

frozen strawberries




sweet potatoes


bowtie noodles


whip cream

pineapple chunks

green grapes

mandarin oranges


orange juice


green pepper



fresh ginger


When I write my meal plans for Rosh Hashanah, I really like to use the symbolic foods of Rosh Hashanah and you will see that most of my recipes include the following:

  • Apples and honey
  • Fenugreek or Carrots
  • Leek or Cabbage
  • Beets
  • Dates
  • Gourd
  • Pomegranate
  • Fish
  • Head of Sheep or Fish (except the sheep head!)

I feel that when I cook using the symbolic ingredients, buying them doesn’t have to be another task to complete before Rosh Hashanah. I’m intentionally incorporating them into the meal plan taking away the pressure of “Don’t forget to buy the symbolic foods” and the guilt if I didn’t remember.

Not only will you feel great about using the symbolic foods from a Jewish standpoint, if you love cooking with the fruits and vegetables that are in season as some natural cooks love to do, you’ll be proud to incorporate the season change in your dishes.

I feel that when I cook using the symbolic ingredients, buying them doesn’t have to be another task to complete before Rosh Hashanah. I’m intentionally incorporating them into the meal plan, taking away the pressure of “Don’t forget to buy the symbolic foods,” and the guilt, if I didn’t remember.

Not only will you feel great about using the symbolic foods from a Jewish standpoint; but, if you love cooking with the fruits and vegetables that are in season, as some natural cooks love to do, you’ll be proud to incorporate the seasonal change in your dishes.

2. After planning out all of your meals, fill in this Recipe organizer and keep it with you in your purse. Shop for the ingredients in your Recipe Organizer. (Keep your menu plan in your purse and when you are grocery shopping, look for items on sale. I like to buy my meat during the 9 days since no one is in the butcher shop! This will save you money instead of buying things right before Yom Tov!)

Don’t forget to purchase significant foods of Rosh Hashanah-apples, honey, new fruit, fish head, kreplach, carrots, leeks, figs, dates, pomegranate, beets, gourd. Probably not to hard to remember since you may be using them in your menu plan.

Recipe Organizer

Name of Recipe: Found in: Ingredients Needed that I do not currently have: Feedback from others and notes on recipe:
Moroccan Couscous Chicken Short on Time Cookbook Dates, figs, couscous, zucchini Baby did not like it! Everyone else did

3. Now it’s time to assemble your meals! Start chopping Rosh Hashanah ingredients when you are already cooking for Shabbos. Using a lot of carrots this Shabbos? Chop and peel a whole bag and refrigerate into Ziploc bags. Or, put a whole dish together and freeze it.
If you don’t like to freeze in advance, think “prep and assemble”. Of course, you cannot do too much prepping in advance because of spoilage, but as I said above, chop all vegetables at one time. Skin all of your chickens at once.

To get really organized, when cooking weeknight dinners, double up on your recipe and designate those meals for Chol Hamoed Sukkos.

There are lots of other tasks you need to keep in mind for the High Holidays and they are beyond the scope of this article. You can however get checklists and a Master Holiday Grand Plan for Rosh Hashanah.

Last Year’s Rosh Hashanah Meal Plan

Friday Night and Saturday night

1. Round Challah with Raisins

2. Gefilte Fish Muffins

(I take a loaf a gefilte fish, defrost it, mix it all up with spices, and then pour it into muffin tins. My kids love it!)

3. Chicken Soup

I put in TONS of vegetables: squash, carrots, celery, turnips, parsnips, leeks, onions, pumpkin, celery root, and beets. I also buy chicken bones and put in lots of them. Or you can put in lots of chicken. Having A LOT of chicken is the secret to a flavorful chicken soup. Some swear by lots of garlic, I like to put in lots of chicken and a drop of white vinegar to draw out the flavor.

4. Turkey with Cardamom Rice

Truth be told, I’m going to use turkey as my main course for practically all of the meals. It is so big, serves so many people, and is very versatile. If I get sick of it one night, I’ll make a turkey salad.

For the rice, I just make short grain brown rice and follow the recipe on the box, add lots of cardamom, and raisins. You can add a little chicken broth too.

5. Steamed Broccoli. My family just loves it plain!

6. Dessert– Apple Pie! I buy premade pie crusts, cut up 8 apples, mix them with nutmeg, raisins, cinnamon, cloves, add 2 TB margarine, 1/4 cup flour, and 1/3 cup sugar and pour it in the shell.

In Rosh Hashanah Perfectly Organized, I do talk about using leftovers and cooking in double/triple batches. So, go ahead and do that when making these meals and serve them again the following night.

I’ll admit that I am not so original. I serve mostly the same thing on both day meals and the same dishes for both nighttime meals.


Shabbos lunch and Sunday lunch

1. Round Challah

2. Salmon-I love putting a combo of lemon, olive oil, miso, and ginger on our salmon. Marinate it at room temp for 30 minutes in a bag and then cook it for 20 minutes. Don’t overcook.

3. A big Salad-you can make a HUGE salad and serve it for lunch covering the protein and vegetable. I would put in large chunks of turkey or smoked turkey breast along with croutons, chickpeas, green beans, lettuce, red onions, carrots, peppers, and in honor of Rosh Hashanah- pomegranate seeds. Pour on your favorite dressing or make your own. Everyone can have lots of second helpings.

4. Crock pot soup– Some people love cholent. My stomach favors it a little less than others, so we just have a vegetable soup. Barley, tomatoes, lentils, carrots, celery, potatoes… Put in what you like and add lots of salt. I don’t usually cook with salt, but crock pot soups taste better with it.

5. Dessert-Apple Cranberry Crisp

1 cup oats, 1 cup flour, brown sugar, and 7 1/2 TB margarine to make the crumbs on top. The filling is 6 cups of cranberries (or cranberry sauce), 4 apples, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 cup of orange juice or grape juice. Mix and top with crumb mixture. Serves 8 people. I often double it and it comes out great. Serve warm 🙂


That’s it! You’ve got your meals planned- (except this year we also have the 3rd meal on Shabbos, Shalosh Seudos, but I just serve salad, tuna, challah, and dips).

Thank you for giving me the impetus to plan my meals.

    Now you’ve got to shop and cook.

But don’t worry too much, if you have a copy of Rosh Hashanah Perfectly Organized you’ll be all set.


After you plan out the meals, create your Master Holiday Grand Plan. That will include EVERYTHING you can possibly imagine that needs to be done prior to Rosh Hashanah- including ordering meat, getting your house ready, planning the kids outfits, giving your boss notice of when you’ll need time off, the special halachos and customs of the Yom Tov…

Guess what? Readers of JLO are currently working on a group Master Grand Plan because organizing is so much fun to do with someone else. Check it out here:

I put this under Halacha- because all of these tasks are like laws that must get done and because some of them actually involve halacha (Jewish law).

You can also organize your Spirituality so you are ready to ask for another year of life.


Remember to make your appointments for your haircuts, wig styling, and other appointments for your physical appearance in advance as most salons get busy before the High Holidays.


Many people have guests for the high holidays. The most important thing to remember is to sit down now and anticipate the basic needs that guests and everyone in your family will have. Do you need one meal alone with your family and if not are you going to lose your cool? Does your grandfather like a particular soda or drink that you do not normally have in your home? Anticipate everyone’s needs (especially your own) as much in advance as possible to avoid mishaps.

Do your best. Call your guests in advance and say, “Is there any food or particular item that you just cannot live without?”

Believe me, doing this in advance will make hosting guests smooth sailing.

Schedule the tasks in your grand plan on your calendar– what weeks make sense for you to grocery shop, clothing shop, order specialty items, prepare for the yom tov davening, arrange childcare, etc. It helps to work backwards, start with erev Yom Tov and work backwards. You know what needs to be done by candlelighting so all this becomes somewhat easier to plan when working backwards.

Again, this is all scheduled for you in Rosh Hashanah Perfectly Organized using a sample calendar from 2007 so you don’t have to recreate the wheel.

Feel free to contact me should you need any guidance!

3 Responses to “Jewish Celebration and Holidays”


  1. […] Here is an example of my Rosh Hashanah meal plan that I created using the Yiddishe Simcha cookbook: See if you like the recipes. […]

  2. […] only recently passed, no doubt you have much familiarity with recipes that came out really great. Instead of giving you more recipes as I did for Rosh Hashanah, I’m going to give you some tips on how to minimize trips to and from the Sukkah to the […]

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