Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Homemaking Tip – Judaism for Dummies

One of the books most frequented on our bookshelf is Judaism for Dummies, a Reference for the Rest of Us.  It’s helped me understand lots of Jewish vocabulary and traditions: terms like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Though I have seen Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur written on calendar dates since I was a little girl, until a few years ago, I never knew what those days were for or who was supposed to celebrate them.  But Judaism for Dummies gives an explanation of both events and with a bit of tweaking, they can even be celebrated in our non-Jewish homes.   

Rosh Hashanah is like the Jewish New Year.  It comes six months after the Passover (the celebration from slavery to freedom) and is the time to reflect and ask yourself if you’ve used your freedom for good and if you’re on the right track.  Rosh Hashanah precedes Yom Kippur by several days.  Yom Kippur is the Day of Judgment.  So, Rosh Hashanah is the time to set new goals, repent, and prepare for the judgment.

Jews gather to the synagogues for Rosh Hashanah and two stories are read to celebrate:  the story of Abraham sending Hagar and Ishmael away, and of Abraham offering Isaac as a sacrifice.  The purpose of the two stories is a reminder of the importance of faith through the upcoming year, for Abraham entrusted the lives of both his children into the hands of God.

One of the traditions of Rosh Hashanah is the blowing of the horn (sometimes Rosh Hashanah is referred to as the Feast of the Trumpets).  The horn is traditionally blown not one time, but one hundred times.  It represents calling the people to “wake up,” prepare, gather, repent.  After the evening service in the synagogue, it is customary to serve apples dipped in honey. 

Rosh Hoshanah is a fun Jewish holiday to incorporate at home.  In anticipation of it I made caramel last week because caramel is dark like honey, and thick like honey, and sweet like honey, and I'd much rather eat caramel on apples than honey.  For scripture reading, we’ll read the stories of Abraham.  And it never hurts to reevaluate goals and set a new one.  In fact, “What’s one thing you wished you’d have accomplished last year that you didn’t?” is a good sentence starter at the supper table.  So is, “What’s one thing you are so glad you were last year?”  But then, “What’s one thing you want to make sure you are next year” is a good one, too.

For members of The Church of Jesus Christ ofLatter-day Saints, Rosh Hashanah is especially meaningful.  The angel Moroni delivered the gold plates to JosephSmith on Rosh Hashanah in 1827.  By the power of God, Joseph translated the engravings on those plates and The Book of Mormon was published from those records.  The Book of Mormon calls all men to “wake up,” prepare, repent, gather, and come to Christ.  There is a statue on the top of many of our temples of the angel Moroni blowing a trumpet calling all men to prepare for the great Day of Judgment when Christ will come again to reign on the earth.

So . . . a Happy Rosh Hashanah to you.  Here is the caramel recipe I use for turtles, caramels, cake topping, ice cream, brownie filling, pretty much everything . . . and Rosh Hashanah apples.

Caramel Apple Slices

2 cups light cream
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
½ tsp. salt
½ cup butter (no substitutions)
1 Tbsp. vanilla

In a heavy saucepan, heat cream, sugar and corn syrup until boiling.  Cook and stir over moderate heat for 5 minutes, then add butter and salt.  Turn heat to low and boil gently, stirring often until the temperature on candy thermometer reads 228 degrees.  Remove from heat and when cooled slightly, stir in vanilla.  Cool ‘till warm to the touch and pour into jar.  To serve, cut, core and slice apples into a dish.  Drizzle warm caramel over apple slices.  


hennchix said...

Thank you so much for this recipe!! Adam has been going on and on about it all day today! It's funny that you posted the "Judaism for Dummies"
Book-Mary and I have been wishing for another source for our Old Testament study for our joint homeschool. I feel like I scored a touchdown today!!

Deidra said...

Thanks for the lesson. I love Jewish customs and holidays. I always feel like I come away with some good understanding. Chris and I love to celebrate Passover for that reason. Maybe that book would help me better understand Isaiah!

Brenda Goodrich said...

Do you know if there is a "Mormonism for Dummies" book? How do you know how accurate the "Dummies" books are? Just curious.

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Thanks for your comment Brenda. You brought up a good point. I read the book first, because it's written so it is so easily understood, then follow up by reading more information on the internet. The author and rabbi are really good about telling you it's their opinion if they are expressing an opinion, and so far I haven’t found any discrepancies with other articles, but have found more details in other writings.

By the way, thank you for the book. Do you remember you gave it to me in a bag full of used books? It's been valuable I tell you. You're welcome to it any time!

lelly said...

Wonderful post, Jane!! L'shana tova!!

Nicole said...

Jane- I love this! I was doing some research on my lunch yesterday to find out how I could celebrate! Now, I think apples and carmel is perfect way to celebrate. oh and I might evaluate a little.

Rachel said...

What a fun tradition to start! I usually celebrate with Birthday cake, but I could try this next year.

Ty said...

I loved reading this Mom. Thanks for posting so regularly. I'm so glad you love to learn so much.

michelle said...

Judaism for Dummies - who knew? I had no idea really about Rosh Hashanah. Or Yom Kippur. You are a fount of information.