Jewish Holidays

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.

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

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

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

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

More Recipes and Hints in these Articles

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

More Recipes and Hints in these Articles

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.

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

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.


Soups & Sauces

Fish & Dairy

Meat & Poultry

Pastas & Grains

Passover Bread Alternatives


Vegetables & Side Dishes


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

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.

Other Holidays

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.


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!