So you thought seders were just for Passover? Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews hold a special seder on Rosh Hashanah, too!
We recite blessings over a variety of foods that symbolize our wishes for the new year. The ritual is called a “seder yehi ratzon” (may it be God’s will) because we ask God to guide us and provide us with bounty, strength and peace in the year ahead. The food, called simanim (signs) include apples, pomegranates, dates, pumpkin, beans, scallions, spinach, and a head of lettuce. Our wishes for are based on word-plays on their Hebrew names. Through these simple foods, we ask for the ability to appreciate the basic goodness of our lives,
Thank you to Jewish Week writer Ronni Fein for writing about the seder. You can read her article here.
Enjoy my special recipe for Apple Maraba, a cooked, spiced apple, to serve at your Rosh Hashanah meal!
4 slightly tart apples (like Macintosh)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
8-12 whole cloves
1 Tbsp. rose water
2 drops natural red food coloring (optional)
Peel and core apples. Cut into eights (or quarters if apples are small). Set aside. Pour water and sugar into a wide-based cooking pot, bring to a boil and simmer until sugar dissolves. Insert cloves into some of the apple pieces. Add apples, rose water and food coloring (optional; it tints the apples a pinkish color). Bring to a boil and simmer covered (about 10 minutes).
Shake the apples in the pan from time to time. Apples should be soft but retain their shape. Cook uncovered 2-5 minutes longer until liquid evaporates. Apples should NOT completely dissolve into applesauce. Remove from heat and cool. Remove cloves if desired. Double the recipe for more servings.