Rosh Hashanah in Oklahoma City begins, as it does around the world, at sundown today, September 4th.
This holiday, celebrating the new year on the Jewish calendar is typified by resolutions and by feasting.
I have probably had more contact with my current neighbor Temple B'nai Israel http://www.thetempleokc.org/aboutus/faqs/about_rosh_hashanah/ than any of my other neighboring houses of worship, of which there are many in my immediate area. http://www.yellowpages.com/oklahoma-city-ok/jewish-temples. As a child, my father a UMC minister joined frequently with Rabbi David Packman for interfaith dialogue and worship connecting that and many other communities.
When I was born, I was not given a middle name. When I moved to Atlanta, Georgia a number of years ago, my name was Diana Jacobs, and I lived next door to a vast Orthodox Jewish community and interfaced with many different versions of Judaism. Having one given name, some say (and the use of names in general) in Judaism is often connected.
My given name without a middle name, and then my married name often brought forward questions about my connections to the Jewish faith. My given name is Biblical and my birth surname is British. My Mom's family is Czechoslovakian, from both Czech and Slovak Republics. There's a few other things tossed in there. The one name tradition in my family is noted as Czech. My family denoted heritage is Christian. All I could do was shrug and smile. Expanded awareness.
When former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Korbel Albright born (Marie Jana Korbelova) discovered her Czech-Jewish-Holocaust roots that was pretty interesting. But despite the original family custom of my one name, my married name and her story, that is ultimately not my story currently confirmed ... but I am open to it. ( Amaryta Sen, I peacefully wait for the possible other chapters).
Generally speaking, the variety food, traditions and culture were delightfully accessible in any area of Atlanta I lived in. I often sigh to find no Jewish Deli and bakery in my immediate walks in life in OKC.
Then or now, I giggle as I am also not a Shiksa http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=shiksanor nor a Balaboosta, http://balaboostanyc.com/ though the latter would certainly be the better option.
I am not opposed to making my own foods when I cannot find what I want naturally occuring in my environment and so here are some ideas.
I always think of Challah bread as a central focus to many things in Jewish culture, and in Atlanta, noone made their own to speak of . It flew off the shelves of the bakeries in general, and for High Holy Days, one had to reserve loaves in advance in order to have needs met. Not unlike making reservations to attend High Holy Day services. Here are a few recipes for Challah which is pretty easy to make and very fragrant.
This next bit sort of explains the primary features of the meal, the must haves. I am always surprised at the inventiveness of the use of the traditional ingredients. Variety from simple to complex. Who knew there were pomegranate truffles?
VIDEO http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_detail/national/14794 lamb shanks
http://www.myjewishlearning.com/blog/food/ pomegranate truffles
I love food traditions and food stories. Apple Cake is a favorite in my family and I am at work and do not have the "best" recipe. The most gratifying is the child who talks with his parents of the love of the ritual of baking, smell and taste.
Food experimentation, tasting and sharing is a wonderful way to explore cultures and traditions. Sometimes to rediscover your own, and sometimes to develop new rituals that enrich your life and community. Happy Rosh Hashanah! And watch for this http://www.thetempleokc.org/community/091113_tashlich/