Jewish Holidays

Calendar of Jewish Holidays

A Diet Guide to Jewish Holidays

Shabbat | Rosh Hashanah  | Yom Kippur

Sukkot | Simchat Torah | Chanukah | Purim

Passover/Pesach  | Yom Ha'atzmaut | Shavuot

Other Holidays

Thanksgiving | Mother's Day | Father's Day

Labour Day | New Year's Eve

Jewish Holidays 2015
holidays begin at sundown


4 March 2015


3 April 2015

Yom Ha'atzmaut

22 April 2015


23 May 2015

Rosh Hashanah

13 September 2015

Yom Kippur

22 September 2015


27 September 2015


16 December 2014


The Sabbath is considered the most important of all holy days. Shabbat begins at sundown on Friday evening and ends after sundown on Saturday. Two Challah are blessed. Try these delicious recipes for your next Shabbat meal.

Norene's Prize-winning Challah

Gefilte Fish

Chicken Soup or Split Pea & Barley Soup

Coke Brisket or Herb Roasted Chicken

Lokshin Kugel and/or  Oven-Roasted Vegetables

Sugar Cookies


Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a time for reflection and new beginnings. Sweet foods such as honey, carrots, apples and dried fruits are served, expressing the wish for a happy, sweet year ahead. Try my Honey Apple Cake from The Food Processor Bible

It is always difficult to resist the special dishes associated with the holidays. When planning your menu, lighten it up by preparing more vegetable-based dishes. And when it comes to poultry, experts agree that it makes very little difference whether you remove the skin before or after cooking. Just remove it before it ends up on your fork - and in your mouth!

Roast brisket is a traditional holiday favorite, but a 3 1/2 ounce serving (the size of a deck of cards) can contain up to 16 grams of fat. Buy a lean, first-cut brisket; second-cut brisket is full of fat. Roast it a day in advance and refrigerate it overnight. Trim off the excess fat and discard the hardened fat from the gravy. Cold brisket can be sliced thinly, which helps control portion size. Refrigerate or freeze the brisket slices until needed. Reheat in the skimmed gravy.

Try my recipe for Coke Brisket from Healthy Helpings!

Nutrition Tip: Prunes are the fruit highest in antioxidants.


For a healthy holiday dessert, try this fiber-packed Quick Fruit Compote!

Combine 3 cups of mixed dried fruits (e.g. prunes, apricots, raisins or dried cranberries) in a microwave-safe glass bowl.

Add water or cranberry juice to cover the top of the fruit by at least 1 inch.

Microwave covered on high power for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once or twice.

When cool, refrigerate. The liquid will become sweeter the longer it stands.

No Rosh Hashana dinner is complete without nothings and here's the secret of "nothings"

Recipe Suggestions for Rosh Hashanah

More Recipes and Hints in these Articles

Pan Pals Share Rosh Hashanah Food Memories

A is for Apple: A-peel-ing Apple Desserts

From My Healthy Kitchen to Yours  

Pan-Pals Share Favorite High Holiday Recipes over the Miles

Gathering Round the Holiday Table

Menu from the Mavens Offers New Twists for a Sweet New Year 

Apples and Honey bring sweet blessings to the New Year

Recipes from Gatherings: Creative Kosher Cooking from our Families to Yours

Three-Coloured Fish Loaf

Double Mushroom Chicken

Pecan Pumpkin Loaf


Yom Kippur

For Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, traditional foods like chicken soup, Kreplach (meat-filled dumplings) and boiled chicken are served the night before a day-long fast.

In order to avoid thirst during the fast, avoid spicy, salty foods. Eat moderate amounts of protein and include foods that are high in complex carbohydrates. Be sure to drink adequate liquids before and after fasting to prevent dehydration.

To break the fast, low-fat dairy foods, poached fish and salads are excellent choices for your festive buffet table.

Recipe Suggestions for Yom Kippur

Super Cole Slaw

Potato Salad

Special K Mandel Bread

Wendy's Easy Chicken Bake



Sukkot celebrates the final gathering of the harvest before the winter. Meals are served in the Sukkah, an outdoor structure with a leafy roof partly open to the sky. The Sukkah symbolizes the temporary shelters in which our ancestors lived during their 40 years in the desert.

The agricultural theme is celebrated by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. Stuffed vegetables (cabbage, eggplant, zucchini, peppers) are served for Sukkot. Kreplach and kugels, challah and strudels - these are a few of my favorite things!

Recipe Suggestions for Sukkot

Sweet & Sour Holishkes

Norene's Prize-winning Challah

Pecan Pumpkin Loaf

Eileen Mintz's Favorite Apple Cake

More Recipes and Hints in these Articles

A Healthy Harvest of Celebrations

Gathering Round the Holiday Table

Pan-Pals Share Favorite High Holiday Recipes over the Miles


Simchat Torah
Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are the culmination of the High Holy Days. On Shemini Atzeret, the 8th day of Sukkot, it is customary to eat in the Sukkah. On Simchat Torah, we resume eating our meals indoors. Cabbage rolls are often served for Simchat Torah, because their cylindrical shape symbolizes the shape of the scrolls of the Torah.

Recipe Suggestions for Simchat Torah

Sweet & Sour Holishkes

Cabbage Rolls with Flanken

More Recipes and Hints in these Articles

A Healthy Harvest of Celebrations

Pan-Pals Share Favorite High Holiday Recipes over the Miles



When the days are short and the long, cold nights descend early, the Festival of Chanukah arrives. The flickering lights of the Chanukah menorah (chanukiah) will join the lights of the Shabbos candles. Once again we recall the miracle that took place over 2,000 years ago, when a small band of Maccabees were victorious over their enemies, and a little jar of oil, enough to burn for only one day, miraculously burned for eight.

In honour of the miracle which occurred with oil, it is traditional to eat foods fried in oil. Potato latkas and sufganiot (Israeli-style doughnuts) are popular. Dairy dishes are also customary. 

Everyone Loves Latkes

Chanukah Delights

Season's Eatings!

Lighten up for Chanukah

Tinkering with Tradition (review of Norene's Healthy Kitchen from the Montreal Gazette)

No-Fry Latkas

Smashed Potato Latkes

Mini veggie latkes with Smoked Salmon and Tzatziki

Marcy's Boston Cream Pie Doughnuts (Sufganiyot)

Cream Cheese-Apricot Tart

Levana's Potato Latkes

Olive-Lemon Chicken

Tuna Fish Patties

Sweet Potato and Zucchini Latkes

Braised Mini Meatballs

Cinnamon-Chocolate Mandelbroit


The symbolic foods of Purim are connected with Haman and Queen Esther. To avoid breaking Kosher dietary laws, Queen Esther lived in the palace on a vegetarian diet. Poppy seeds are symbolic of Queen Esther's three day fast. When she broke her fast at night, she ate only seeds while she prayed to G-d to repeal Haman's decree.

Read more about Purim, Creative Gift Baskets for Purim, Purim Then and Now and Pareve Purim Treats.

Visit Giora Shimoni's Kosher Food Blog at


Poppy Seed Filling


Poppy Seed Candy (Mohnlach)

Sugar Cookies/Haman's Hats

Five-Fruit Filling for Hamentashen

'Just Right' Hamantaschen

Persian Halvah

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

Cookie Dough Hamantaschen

Double Chocolate Filling

Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Balls

An Edible Cookie Bowl

Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Patties

Dipping Chocolate

Party Cake Cones

Meringue Baked Pecans


During Passover, it is forbidden to eat "chametz" (leavened products) containing wheat, barley, oats, rye or spelt. Ashkenazi (European) Jews do not eat "kitniyot" (beans, peas, lentils, corn, rice or soy products.) Many Sephardic Jews eat legumes and rice, but only after checking them grain by grain to be sure they contain no foreign materials. Some Jews will not eat "gebrocks," i.e., foods containing matzo and its derivatives (cake meal, matzo meal, farfel) that are combined with liquid. Fresh fruits, herbs and most vegetables are Kosher for Passover.

For some reminiscences of Matzo Balls at Passover, read Memories of Matzo Balls - Chicken Soup for the Bowl! and Food Memories of Passovers Past.

For more information, visit All A-Board the Magical Matzo and Tips for Passover. Read my review of Olive Trees and Honey, which provides an outstanding collection of 300 vegetarian dishes that have been woven together with cultural and historical details, or Passover Food Memories from a Food Maven which, in addition to recipes for Passover, provides an abundance of information of gefilte fish.. 

For some historical background and great recipes read my article Chefs Select Passover Secrets.

Once the Seders have passed, here are some terrific recipes that my "Pan-Pals” Share for Passover Fare. My Pan-Pals also share their Favourite Vegetarian Passover Recipes.

Here are some ideas Kid-Friendly Passover Dishes that are too good to Pass-over!

Here is an index of many of the recipes on our web site that are suitable for Passover. Omit spices or products that are not available for Passover. Where necessary, substitute Passover side dishes.


Three-Coloured Fish Loaf

Matzo Pizza 

Soups & Sauces

Low Fat Matzo Balls

Mom's Matzo Balls

Shitake Mushroom Matzo Balls

Chicken Soup

Spinach Matzo Balls

Mom's Matzo Balls

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls

Herbed Passover Noodles

Quick Soup Dumplings

Fish & Dairy

Gefilte Fish

Gefilte Fish Patties in Tomato Sauce

New Wave Gefilte Fish

Spinach Moussaka

Meat & Poultry

Coke Brisket

Pesach-Stuffed Turkey Breast

Meat and Leek Patties

Limelight Roast Chicken

Braised Rib Roast w Melted Tomatoes

Nechamah Cohen's Roast Chicken Provencal with Whole


Passover Wacky Franks

Pastas & Grains

Fruited Quinoa Primavera

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Passover Lasagna

Passover Bread Alternatives

Passover Bulkies

Passover Rolls


Potato Flour Muffins

Passover Chicken Muffins

Quick Matzah Pizza


Super Coleslaw (Omit the Splenda)

Israeli Salad

Roasted Beet Salad


Vegetables & Side Dishes

Pretend Potato Kugel

Matzah Farfel and Broccoli Kugel

Broccoli Spinach Kugel

Baked Veggie Patties

Low Carb Fried "Rice"

My Mom's Passover Kigelach

Roasted Eggplant Spread

Matzah Schalat

Meat and Leek Patties 

Diane's Peach Potato Puffs

Oven-Roasted Vegetables

Confetti Vegetable Kugel

Faux-tato Kugel

Mango-Date Haroset

Acorn Squash with Ginger-Orange Glaze

Glazed Apricot Carrots with Peppers

Vegetable Kugel

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Cauliflower Kugel

Easy Eggplant Side Dish

Microwave Eggplant Parmigian

Spaghetti Squash

Hasselback Potatoes

Sephardic Spinach Patties

Baked Eggplant Stack


My Mother's Passover Cake

Cinnamon Twists

Brownie Bites

Chocolate Almond Apricot Clusters

Nechamah Cohen's Simple Almond Cookies

Apple & Apricot Kugel

Homemade Applesauce

Babka - (no sugar added cinnamon pecan)

Bon Vivant

Brownie Pops

Norene's Chocolate Matzah Bark

Coconut Almond Macaroons

Key Lime Pie

Lemon Meringue Clouds

Marble Cake

Marlyne Abrasion's Mock Oatmeal Cookies

Ruth Silverberg's Charoset Muffins


Dr. Ruth's Favorite Passover Nut Torte

Praline Cake

Sponge Cake

Lela Kornberg's Upside-Down Apricot Pudding


Yom H'atzmaut

When I asked several Israeli friends how they celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day, they replied, "With a barbecue, of course!" 

Grilled Falafel

Tahini Sauce

The Thrill of Grilling



Shavuoth commemorates the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai and is also the Festival of the First Fruits. The synagogue and home are decorated with flowers, plants and fruits. Dairy foods such as cheesecake and blintzes (which represent the shape of the Torah) are traditionally served.



Mother's Day
Why not treat Mom to breakfast in bed, or maybe a family brunch with the whole family? Read Mother's Day Celebration Made Easy for some simple suggestions for brunch or lunch.


Father's Day

For your Father's Day celebration, Gather Round the Grill and be sure to follow our safe grilling tips - better safe than sorry!

Dad (and all your guests) will love Beer Can Chicken and Great Grilled Vegetables. Some easy, excellent salad suggestions are Israeli Salad, Super Coleslaw and Potato Salad. For dessert, serve a platter of fresh fruit, assorted squares and Cran-Berry Apple Crisp. You'll have a celebration worth remembering!





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All images and recipes © Norene Gilletz, 2014, unless otherwise noted.

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