In Rabbi Cheplowitz’s congregation, many “left to (places) from Orlando to Alabama, trying to get out of harm’s way. We had one family that had been planning to go north for the holiday anyway, and instead of coming back here, they took a flight from wherever they’d fled and went to their family a little bit early.”
And wherever they go, those families will likely cement not only their religious celebration but their bond with traditional foods that incorporate honey, apples, challah bread and more, says Joanna Caras, a Port St. Lucie author and television personality who has written two volumes, “The Holocaust Survivor’s Cookbook” and “Miracles and Meals.” Each book features stories and recipes collected from Holocaust survivors from around the world.
“Celebrating the New Year celebrates what is really important in life, and how better to do that then when we come together, through our food and the things that bring us all together in one spot?” says Caras, who hosts a show called “Miracles and Meals with Joanne Caras” on Jewish Life TV.
“The (holiday) is about starting all over again, and having hope. We are grateful for everyone, in this storm, surviving with electricity. Hope sparks up something better. That’s what the survivors did. They took what they could and brought it back to be able to commemorate special times with their family.”
Among the more than 200 recipes Caras has assembled in her two books (proceeds all go to support a soup kitchen in Israel and other charitable organizations) are several appropriate for Rosh Hashanah. That includes including honey cake and round challah bread, which represents “a crown, crowning God Almighty as our king, and also the circle of life,” says Rabbi Cheplowitz.
In Sabin’s home, her mother Shirley, “an amazing cook,” makes both “an apple cake that is stellar,” and a dessert with plums, another traditional Rosh Hashanah ingredient. She says that as she and Sophie prepare to return to New Jersey to make those special dishes, she reflects on their mad dash to the same place before Hurricane Irma, when she drove the whole way without turning her ailing car off in driving rain, afraid that it wouldn’t restart if she did.
“In terms of the holiday, the hurricane gives me perspective on what is important,” says Sabin, who runs two business consultant firms, The Sabin Group and the Growth Management Group. “We had two hours to pack up what was important. We left what was extraneous, and thought ‘If it’s gone, it’s gone.’ “In terms of Rosh Hashanah, and the New Year, it’s about the opportunity to be a better us.”
ROSH HASHANAH RECIPES
This recipe was submitted to the “Holocaust Survivor’s Cookbook” by Rachel Shapiro, whose late mother, Bella Dagan, spent two years in a Russian hard labor camp in Siberia with her parents.
9 extra large eggs (separate eggs from yolks)
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tablespoon oil
1 tsp Cream of Tartar
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 10” round springform pan with margarine.
2) Beat egg whites with Cream of Tartar, until stiff. Slowly add sugar.
3) Mix flour with baking powder, add slowly to egg mixture. Then add oil, vanilla and lemon zest.
4) Bake for 45 minutes, until golden. Immediately remove from oven and stand the bread, in the pan, on its side until it cools so that it does not collapse.
1 cup honey
3 and 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup strong black coffee
½ teaspoon cloves
1 cup oil
½ teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons rum extract 2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farhenheit
2. Grease and flour a 9 x 13” baking pan
3. In a bowl mix together all wet ingredients and set aside
4. In a separate bowl mix together all dry ingredients
5. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients while mixing constantly.
6. Pour into baking pan
7. Bake for 55-60 minutes
CHEESE KREPLACH (Dairy)
as told to Pamela Schubert by her “Grandma Schlezinger”
1 pound of pot cheese or Farmer’s cheese or dry cottage cheese
1 teaspoon salt (or less, to taste)
½ teaspoon pepper
4 cups regular flour (start with 1 ½ cups)
2 well-beaten eggs
1 to 1 ½ cups water
1) Combine all filling ingredients, stir well and set aside.
2) Shape a hill of 1 ½ cups of flour on a large, flat surface, such as a wooden cutting board.
3) Make a well in the center of the hill and add the beaten eggs.
4) Fold the flour into the eggs with a knife, gradually adding the rest of the flour and enough of the water to make a soft dough.
5) Knead the dough until it feels smooth and elastic.
6) Roll the dough thin (about 1/16 of an inch) and cut into strips; then cut strips into 3 inch squares.
7) Put about 1 teaspoon cheese filling in the center of each square and fold over into triangles or smaller squares.
8) Press edges closed with fingers, or use a fork to seal. If kreplachs are not to be cooked immediately, cover them so they won’t dry out.
9) Boil water in a large pot, add kreplachs to boiling water and nudge with a wooden spoon to keep them from sticking together.
10) Bring water back to a boil and simmer kreplachs 10 to 15 minutes until done (they will stop floating on top of the water when done)
11) Drain kreplachs, coat with melted butter and serve.